China, the rising power of the world, has seen one of its most popular drone companies step into the education market with a new robot that teaches children robotics, coding, and warfare.
DJI, the world's largest drone maker, has branched out from its traditional Phantom and Mavic drones to an entirely new land-based robot called RoboMaster S1 will allow children to discover new technologies at an early age.
On June 11, the company unveiled the S1 in China. The new robot features 31 sensors, a stabilized camera, and a laser/pellet gun. Children, mostly Chinese at the moment, have had an early lead on getting their hands on these new, high-tech robots. When the S1s battle, there are hit-detecting sensors on each side of the vehicle that will allow the winner of each fight to immobilize their opponent(s).
However, there is a significant problem: The S1s are shipped as a kit (costing around $500), which means the youngsters who are assembling the drone must learn about robotics software for assembly.
"By doing the assembly process, you get to understand what each part is used for and what the principles are behind it," says Shuo Yang, one of the lead engineers.
"We want it to look like an interesting toy that then teaches basic programming and mechanical knowledge." Once built, the RoboMaster S1 can be used to blast away at other S1s during some good, old-fashioned at-home family combat.
Once the robot is assembled, it has extraordinary abilities. It can follow orders, recognize 44 different visual symbols, identify and track humans, and respond to gestures from humans, as well as recognizing other S1 robots and react accordingly during battle.
Children will learn some form of robotics through DJI's series called "Road to Mastery" - will allow children at an early age to learn robotic warfare.
Children can use Python or Scratch to code new robot maneuvers so that they can one-up their opponent(s) during a fierce fight.
Frank Wang, DJI's founder and chief executive officer, started DJI in 2006 and has since acquired at least 70% of the global civilian drone market, according to analysts and drone registrations.
Despite DJI's global success, DHS's Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has repeatedly warned American companies and even civilians using Chinese-built drones "as they may contain components that can compromise your data and share your information on a server accessed beyond the company itself."
Since DJI is labeled as a US national security concern, the proliferation of S1 robots in American households to teach children about robotics and coding seems limited. Meanwhile, China, the rising power of the world, will allow its youth (and anyone else who is friendly to Chinese technology) to become masters of robotics at an early age. In other words, China is advancing new technologies to its youth as it has ambitions of displacing the American empire by 2030. The best way to do that is through a highly educated civilization.