Once you have it out, they suggest that you charge it. The charger is in a small pull out box below the Stormtrooper. I charged it up and installed the iOS app on my iPhone. The setup requires you to connect your mobile device to a network setup by the Stormtrooper and he says the password you need to use (make sure you write this down). I would much rather have a Bluetooth setup for ease of use anywhere, but I got it connected and then connected it to my wifi system via the app. I also updated the firmware. It can take a while before you can actually start enjoying the Stormtrooper, but I didn’t find this to be unusual. I have other battery operated devices that take just as long to get up and running.
After theStormtrooper was setup, he runs through some head and body movements to calibrate. He has motors in the neck, arms, legs and sensors in his feet. He also has a video camera in his helmet and an array of microphones.
The app gives you the option to scan your face into his memory as a “Commander”, “Captain”, “Lieutenant”, or “Resident Scum”. You can also go into the “Settings” and turn off or on sound effects and music.
Currently it has a few different “Take Command” features. “Training”, Mission” and “Sentry”.
The “Training” area lets you set up “Actions” in different categories like “Action”, “Recon”, “Security”, etc. You can name actions anything you like, but there are numerous actions you can choose from. The options typically have the robot say something like “I’ll secure the area” or other patrol oriented verbalizations. The list of movements range from him surveying the area by moving around his head or a combination of head and arm movements. Once you select what you want him to say and how you want him to move, you just name the action and save it.
Now that you have an action setup, you go back into the main “Training” section and choose “Practice”. This allows you to see him perform the actions that you set up. You can also control his head movements and make him walk in different directions with some on screen controls. If you turn on “streaming” it will show you video on the screen of what he sees. I like this area a lot. It allows you to make him talk, move around, view the area he is surveying, etc. You can also go into “Manage Actions” which allows you to delete, change the name, or assign the action to a different category.
On the main screen, you can also select “Mission”. This will pop up choices of “Easy”, “Normal”, and “Hard”. This is a little game with a grid that you move around in a virtual world that is split with the area you are in. It is a bit weird but I guess is so you can see where he is in your space and the virtual world space. In this world you navigate him to positions on the screen where he will observe and interact with a virtual object. While I wasn’t really blown away by the game play, I do see that they have a lot of potential to make game play better given all of the high tech features built into the Stormtrooper.
On the main screen, the final option is “Sentry”. This allows you to start or create a patrol. He will survey and march along the area you designate and when he senses motion he will ask for a password. If you say the correct password he will clear you, if not, he will tell you to move along in no uncertain terms.
I personally own the excellent Sphero R2D2 robot which is a lot cheaper than the Stormtrooper. I find the R2D2 to be more fun to operate because he moves around so much faster. However, the Stormtrooper is a much more sophisticate robot with a camera, microphones, and sensors. It has robotics built into his arms and legs and neck. Therefore, UBTECH has a lot of room to improve the experience if they choose to update the app. I really hope they do because the Stormtrooper looks fantastic and has a lot of potential that is somewhat letdown by some areas of the app. Of course, the Stormtrooper will always move around slower than R2D2, but the virtual gameplay could be a lot better.
All in all, I like the Stormtrooper, but I think it could be even better with some app updates.