Four-wheel drive with the ability to move in all directions. Not only forward and backward and rotating but also crab-like thanks to 12 small rollers that allow these lateral movements. The RoboMaster S1 can be controlled via a smartphone or tablet and offers multiple game modes. The machine weighs 3.3 Kg and measures 320 x 240 x 270 mm.
The most basic are the piloting of visu or through his embedded camera which films in FullHD and photographs in 2560 x 1440 with a FOV of 120°. Like a flying drone of the brand, it can be moved remotely from another room, record photos or sequences of its movements and return to the base. As the camera is placed on a rotating turret that can also move up and down, it will be possible to film in travelling, to follow an object while moving and to make precise movements.
The RoboMaster S1 moves at 8 km/h and allows you to play as with any other radio controlled device. It also offers some interesting battle modes. The first uses infrared “rays” to fight with another device. On the side of the turret, LEDs indicate the life of each machine, after several successful infrared shots on the sensors of the robot in front of it, it loses its turret points before losing the game. A competition mode, alternatively uses gel balls that are integrated into the turret and which will try to hit the enemy robot. Shock sensors will also take into account the shots hit and will therefore allow competitions to be held. A function inherited from video games also allows you to disable a robot too close by simulating interference or an EMP that will disable for a few seconds the capabilities of the machine that follows you or that you want to double. DJI is also thinking of creating a drivers’ championship.
But the most interesting thing is undoubtedly in the programmable side of RoboMaster S1. They can be taught to be more autonomous through the use of Scratch 3.0 or Python programming. 46 elements embedded in the robot are accessible for programming, movement, turret, LEDs, sensors and others. AI modules are also available.
So you can program the device to follow a track, make a round, follow orders or react to events, for example. It will be possible to control the turret easily, move the machine and other reaction functions in response to an event. Combined with an UltraHD sensor, the machine can be considered as a programmable robot for filming complex sequences, for example.
It will be possible to precisely program the machine’s behaviors. The reactions of its different elements but also its AI. Recognize objects, QRCode or other. So it is possible to make it a surveillance robot programmed to follow a path and check that everything is in order. The machine can follow paths traced on the ground, markers, people, gestures, applause and its congeners. The robot can then be ordered to follow someone or react to actions. To stop at a specific sign, to wait for a green light for example or to change course to avoid an unexpected obstacle before returning to your line.
The RoboMaster S1 is not yet available in France, it is announced at $499 in the US. Its announced autonomy is 30 to 35 minutes with its removable battery. The gel beads are non-polluting and non-toxic, we will appreciate this effort of the brand to think about the environment even if it will result in the purchase of proprietary bead packs… We can already download its RoboMaster application.
I think the tool is great, despite its military appeal, for educational purposes. Not too expensive, easy to handle and appetizing for young children. It will allow us to move forward step by step. From basic use in simple piloting, we can switch to Scratch for the beginning of programming before diving into Python for more advanced uses. Perfect for carrying out a project in a group.