Don’t let the name fool you, this is an educational tool first and foremost

DJI is by now an established name in the civilian drone segment. But as of late, the company has been looking at ways to expand its business on the ground as well. And finally, it has come up with the first product to tackle that challenge. It’s called the RoboMaster S1 - with the S1 symbolizing "step one" - and it should be seen as an educational tool rather than a toy. How’s that? We’ll explain in a bit.

What is a DJI RoboMaster S1?

Well, DJI calls this thingamajig an "intelligent educational robot." Sure, it looks like a futuristic tank that uses wheels instead of tracks but the company claims it is only designed to let users delve into the world of robotics, programming, and AI - hence the educational bit. Of course, the play and entertainment elements are also present and we wouldn’t have had it any other way, since playing is the oldest form of learning, whether we’re talking the animal kingdom or human beings.

DJI RoboMaster Design

DJI RoboMaster S1 Battle Robot
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We’ve established that the RoboMaster S1 looks like a tank of sorts, so let’s dive deeper into its bits and bobs. Now, DJI says it fitted its robot with 31 sensors that help it create a digital map of the surroundings. Six of these sensors are placed on the S1’s intelligent body armor - they’re used to detect hits and work in tandem with a first-person view camera mounted atop of the frame. The camera sends a continuous live feed from the robot to its dedicated RoboMaster app (iOS, Android).

What we’ve mentioned above allows RoboMaster to "identify different objects automatically, recognize and respond to sounds, and receive signals from other S1 units." Alright, this does sound a bit Terminator-y. But scary stuff aside, the robot uses four brushless motors that power four Mecanum wheels that allow omnidirectional movement - that is, the S1 can move sideways if needed.

via GIPHY

In more specific terms, the DJI RoboMaster S1 can pull a couple of tricks that downright impressive. It can follow a pre-set map, recognize up to 44 markers (those can be letters, numbers, or symbols), as well as identify and follow a selected person. Hell, it can even recognize hand gestures. Now how neat is that?

Speaking of neat, the RoboMaster S1 can even shoot gel projectiles - don’t worry, they’re harmless, but seriously recommended for some kickass target practice sessions. And if that’s not enough, you can code a custom move, upload it in the app, and sit and watch as RoboMaster performs it.

DJI RoboMaster - Specs

DJI RoboMaster S1 Battle Robot
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Camera resolution (still) 2560 x 1440
Photo format JPEG
Video format MP4
Pixels 5 MP
Weight 3.3 kilos
Size 320 mm x 240 mm x 270 mm
Speed 3.5 m/s forward, 2.5 m/s backward, 2.8 m/s sideways
Motor power 19W
Motor torque 0.25 Nm
Battery 2400 mAh
Battery life in use 35 minutes
Battery life in standby 100 minutes

DJI RoboMaster - Price and Availability

DJI says its RoboMaster S1 is available as of June 12 for a retail price of $499. You can get one from DJI’s online store or at selected flagship stores. Once you get the box, you’ll have to assemble the robot yourself.

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