DJI’s newest drone doesn’t fly, but the company hopes that the programmable Robomaster S1 will help kids’ imaginations soar. The four-wheeled S1, which comes with a bevy of sensors as well as a cannon that shoots little plastic pellets, can be controlled via an app and programmed with either Python or Scratch. We had a chance to try out this zippy machine, which goes on sale June 12 for a sky-high price of $500.
Each Robomaster S1 comes disassembled in more than two dozen pieces; the first step for any child is to put everything together. The pieces all feel pretty sturdy, though it looks like you’ll need a steady set of hands, a small screwdriver, and a couple hours of free time to put everything together.
The completed Robomaster S1 is about the size of a large shoebox. A swiveling turret on top can either fire blasts of infrared light, or tiny gel pellets, which are sure to get in every corner of your house. You get 10,000 pellets with the S1, whose hopper can hold 450. Prior to loading, you have to soak the pellets in water until they puff up to the size of a small pea. They don’t hurt when they hit you, but DJI gives you a pair of safety goggles for a reason. Please don’t use the Robomaster to antagonize your pets.
The S1 is studded with 31 sensors (such as infrared and impact sensors) that help the drone navigate and interact with other objects. For example, you can program the drone to follow a painted line, and to stop, go, or turn when it sees other specific symbols.
Each of the four wheels is powered by a 100-Watt brushless motor, and while its speed tops out at 8 miles per hour, the S1 felt plenty zippy as I drove it around DJI’s offices. Because the wheels are independently powered — and each wheel has 12 rollers — the drone’s very maneuverable, too. I could send the S1 careering in any direction instantly, often to the detriment of whatever happened to be in its way.
Control of the S1 is handled by DJI’s app, or through an optional physical control pad that clips to your smartphone. The main view on the app’s screen is a live feed from the S1’s 1080p camera. The S1 can also recognize and follow people (though not with its pellet cannon active, unfortunately), and can also respond to claps and gesture controls, similar to DJI’s flying drones such as the Mavic Air.
If you have more than one S1 — which seems unlikely, given the drone’s cost — you can battle them against each other using either the infrared cannon or the pellets. (The S1’s impact sensors can register a hit). We tried both combat modes, and it was much harder to hit one of these things with the pellets than with the infared.
When you’re not blasting away with the S1, you can program it using either Python or Scratch, the latter of which is fairly easy for kids to pick up. You simply drag and drop tiles into place to tell the drone what you want it to do.
The S1’s battery should last for up to 30 minutes, a few minutes longer than DJI’s Mavic 2 Pro drone. Like its flying drones, you can swap out the S1’s battery.
After spending a few minutes driving the Robomaster S1 around and shooting its cannon at various things, I’m curious to try coding for it and exploring all that you can do. However, $500 is a lot to pay for what is essentially a kids’ toy. Less expensive alternatives for teaching kids to program include the Sphero SPRK ($100), Ryze Tello ($99) and the Parrot Mambo ($179), the latter of which also has a little cannon attachment.
The Robomaster S1 is available now for $499, while a PlayMore Kit — which will include the controller, additional gel beads, one battery, and a gel bead container — will be available at a later date at a yet-to-be-announced price.
Stay tuned for our full review.
Photo credit: Tom’s Guide
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Europe has today published common rules for the use of drones. The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) says the regulations, which will apply universally across the region, are intended to help drone operators of all stripes have a clear understanding of what is and is not allowed.
Having a common set of rules will also means drones can be operated across European borders without worrying about differences in regulations.
“Once drone operators have received an authorisation in the state of registration, they are allowed to freely circulate in the European Union. This means that they can operate their drones seamlessly when travelling across the EU or when developing a business involving drones around Europe,” writes EASA in a blog post.
Although published today and due to come into force within 20 days, the common rules won’t yet apply — with Member States getting another year, until June 2020, to prepare to implement the requirements.
Key among them is that starting from June 2020 the majority of drone operators will need to register themselves before using a drone, either where they reside or have their main place of business.
Some additional requirements have later deadlines as countries gradually switch over to the new regime.
The pan-EU framework creates three categories of operation for drones — open’ (for low-risk craft of up to 25kg), ‘specific’ (where drones will require authorization to be flown) or ‘certified’ (the highest risk category, such as operating delivery or passenger drones, or flying over large bodies of people) — each with their own set of regulations.
The rules also include privacy provisions, such as a requirement that owners of drones with sensors that could capture personal data should be registered to operate the craft (with an exception for toy drones).
The common rules will replace national regulations that may have already been implemented by individual EU countries. Although member states will retain the ability to set their own no-fly zones — such as covering sensitive installations/facilities and/or gatherings of people, with the regulation setting out the “possibility for Member States to lay down national rules to make subject to certain conditions the operations of unmanned aircraft for reasons falling outside the scope of this Regulation, including environmental protection, public security or protection of privacy and personal data in accordance with the Union law”.
The harmonization of drone rules is likely to be welcomed by operators in Europe who currently face having to do a lot of due diligence ahead of deciding whether or not to pack a drone in their suitcase before heading to another EU country.
EASA also suggests the common rules will reduce the likelihood of another major disruption — such as the unidentified drone sightings that ground flights at Gatwick Airport just before Christmas which stranded thousands of travellers — given the registration requirement, and a stipulation that new drones must be individually identifiable to make it easier to trace their owner.
“The new rules include technical as well as operational requirements for drones,” it writes. “On one hand they define the capabilities a drone must have to be flown safely. For instance, new drones will have to be individually identifiable, allowing the authorities to trace a particular drone if necessary. This will help to better prevent events similar to the ones which happened in 2018 at Gatwick and Heathrow airports. On the other hand the rules cover each operation type, from those not requiring prior authorisation, to those involving certified aircraft and operators, as well as minimum remote pilot training requirements.
“Europe will be the first region in the world to have a comprehensive set of rules ensuring safe, secure and sustainable operations of drones both, for commercial and leisure activities. Common rules will help foster investment, innovation and growth in this promising sector,” adds Patrick Ky, EASA’s executive director, in a statement.
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JERUSALEM – The Israeli military says it has observed a drone entering Israeli airspace from Lebanon.
In a brief announcement, the military said on Wednesday that the aircraft returned to Lebanon. It gave no further details.
On several occasions, Israel has accused Iran of flying drones into Israeli airspace from neighboring Syria. In February 2018, it shot down what it said was an armed Iranian drone.
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Der chinesische Importshop GearBest feiert ab heute einen „Jahresmitte Mega Sale“ im Rahmen dessen zahlreiche Produkte teils sehr stark reduziert sind. Dazu gehören Smartphones und Zubehör von Xiaomi, diverse Smartwatches, Apple AirPod Klone und natürlich Tablets.
Ziemlich spannend finde ich auch die Xiaomi Deals. Darunter befinden sich Smartphones wie das neue Redmi K20, aber auch Xiaomi Mesh Router, das Pocophone F1 und mehr. Die Xiaomi Deals findet ihr hier.
Besonders spannend finde ich folgende Tablet-Deals mit den jeweiligen Gutscheincodes:
Einige der Tablets habe ich bereits getestet. Besonders gut abgeschnitten hat das Chuwi Hi9 Pro, das ein 8 Zoll Tablet mit hochauflösendem Display, Metallgehäuse, fast reinem Android und eingebautem LTE ist. Meinen Chuwi Hi9 Pro Testbericht könnt ihr hier lesen.
Interessant ist auch das Teclast T20 (Test). Es bietet ebenfalls ein hochauflösendes 10 Zoll Display, hat ein Metallgehäuse und sogar einen eingebauten Fingerabdruckscanner. Für dieses Feature muss man oft mindestens 300 Euro ausgeben.
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We stopped covering kickstarter and indiegogo a while ago due to anything we covered ending up being a complaint page when the company inevitably delivered late or didn’t respond to requests for ETAs in a timely fashion.
But lately I’ve been seeing all this garbage on Facebook linking me to incredibly low powered projectors, and belts that claim they’ve researched and are not in violation of copyright and they’ll sue you if you point out they are, and the fastest funded project in X category in HISTORY…
They’re all funded to the tune of sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars. And they’ve been out for like two days at some points, and I already own or have reviewed some of the products they’re raising money for and I just sat there wondering how they got $80K in an hour and a half.
So what’s the deal? Are people big enough sheep to think a 200 lumen projector is going to be good anywhere except a cave? Has nobody ever googled “adjustable belt”? Do people think that if a product is funded that it’s worth chipping in?
That last one got me thinking that some trickery is afoot. People do think if something is funded it’s probably been researched.
If you want to be the fastest funded ripoff belt in history, you start your campaign, pledge ridiculous amounts to yourself, claim “the fastest funded garbage in history!”, and when the funding deadline is almost there, you you back out of supporting yourself. No charge it looks like.
Or cancel your credit cards…
When you see these claims and wonder why, I think it’s because they’re backing themselves expecting people to believe that other people supported it, so so should you.
Alternately there could be a huge number of people who generally are exorbitantly wealthy and can’t google “adjustable belt” or type “amazon.com”.
What has been really fun is posting in the advertising of these asking “so what makes over-funding this product make it better than these?” (links to amazon listing of 30+ devices that look exactly the same and have the same specs.
The ads disappear, only to be replaced by a new one a few days later.
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