DJI Robomaster S1’s KILLER WHEELS could make it awesome for VIDEOS

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DJI Robomaster S1: awesome robo dolly?

DJI has announced the DJI Robomaster S1 radio controlled robot — and it has a killer wheels that could make it an awesome tool for both 360 and traditional cameras.

The DJI Robomaster S1 is a radio controlled educational robot toy that features a 1/4-inch sensor 1080p camera.

DJI Robomaster S1's killer feature
DJI Robomaster S1’s killer feature

The DJI Robomaster S1 is modular and programmable with Scratch 3.0 or Python.  It also has features such as following visual markers, or following claps.

DJI Robomaster S1's killer feature is its wheels
DJI Robomaster S1’s killer feature is its wheels

The killer feature of the S1 however, is its omnidirectional mecanum wheels.  It can move in any direction — forward, backward, sideways, diagonally — at any time, as if it were hovering, which could make it particularly well suited as a radio controlled dolly.

Guru 360 Rover (Guru Cine Rover)
Guru 360 Rover (Guru Cine Rover)

The Robomaster wouldn’t be the first omnidirectional dolly — you may recall the Guru 360 Rover, which uses mecanum wheels to move omnidirectionally.  However, the Guru 360 Rover costs $6499.  The Robomaster S1 on the other hand, is expected to cost just $499.

Obviously the S1 wouldn’t be able to carry heavy professional 360 cameras but it could be just right for consumer 360 cameras such as the Insta360 One X (reviewed here) or GoPro Fusion (reviewed here).  The big question is whether the Robomaster S1 is large enough to carry a camera.

Based on the size of the S1’s camera above its “cannon,” it appears that it is approximately as long as a Mavic Pro, which seems to suggest that will indeed be sufficiently large to carry a camera.  The turret is also not that wide, so it wouldn’t be too prominent in the nadir of a 360 video.  Moreover, the Robomaster S1 is modular, so I’m sure 3rd parties will create 3D printed camera mounts for it eventually.

Besides its size and motor, the S1’s other limitation however, would be that it can only operate indoors, on relatively smooth surfaces.  We also don’t know yet how difficult it will be to program it for camera movements, although the website says it can follow lines on the ground.

It is now available for $499 from DJI.com.  If you’re intrigued by a dolly with mecanum wheels but don’t want to spend $499, check out this RC car with mecanum wheels or this other one.

Thanks to 360 Tips and Tricks for bringing the S1 to my attention!

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