Features

17-year-old Filipino student creates a working life-size BB-8 from household materials

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There are fans who live and breathe Star Wars – they’ve seen all the movies and know and follow all the canons. They buy merchandise to further express their love for the saga, many probably have a collection of them.

And then there are those who make their own.

One such fan is Angelo Casimiro, an unassuming but brainy Physics student from De La Salle University in the Philippines. Although he says he wasn’t much of a Star Wars fan, not until he saw the latest one.

The 17-year-old has been making YouTube videos for almost 5 years now and has been building DIY gadgets and gizmos since he was just 4.

His latest project: a smartphone-controlled life-size BB-8 – exactly like the one in Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens – except he built it using household materials and Arduino circuitry.

17-year-old Angelo Casimiro creates a life-size, fully functional BB-8.

17-year-old Angelo Casimiro creates a life-size, fully functional BB-8.

“When I saw BB-8 in the movie, it was like love at first sight. He was just so adorable! BB8’s spherical design also intrigued me, how it worked,” Casimiro told GadgetMatch.

He used half a Christmas ball for the eye, a deodorant cap for the mic, an old router antenna for the antenna, and roll-on deodorant balls for BB-8’s mechanism. Everything cost him about $120 (approximately P5,700), cheaper than Sphero’s miniature BB-8 Droid.

It doesn’t have hologram capabilities and doesn’t respond to voice commands yet, but his version of BB-8 rolls, patrols, and makes droid sounds like its movie and Sphero counterparts.

He says anyone can make his own BB-8, if people would follow his tutorial carefully. He also posted the full written tutorial on instructables.com – something he’s been doing since he was 10.

Planning the project came naturally to him as he already has a lot of experience in robotics. He is, in fact, a National Robotics champion. He has also competed in several international competitions including the Google Science Fair and the International Robotics Olympiad.

It was his grandfather who got him into electronics but he also comes from a family of scientists. His father is a medical doctor and his uncle is one of the known Filipino scientists today. They both helped add finishing touches to BB-8.

While the adorable droid is not as useful and practical as his other projects, the mechanism is there. He says it can also be used to create spherical vehicles. His ultimate dream is to mass manufacture a Filipino-made solar-powered car.

For now, he’s tweaking and working on improving his droid’s stability as it’s due to appear on TV soon.

He also still has more projects lined up for his channel, as well as some written tutorials: The DIY Bluetooth Boombox, The Portable Fridge Lunchbox, The Portaverter (220v power bank).

“Making something work is really rewarding! I also earn money from it. So far, BB8’s my favorite (project). I get the ideas from things around me. I’m just thankful God gave me a mind creative enough for the knowledge I have for making things,” he said.


All photos c/o Angelo Casimiro

Camera Shootouts

vivo V25 vs V23 5G: Camera Shootout

Are there even significant improvements?

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vivo V25

It hasn’t even been a year but vivo has already revealed the successor to the V23 5G that was launched earlier this 2022. But is it actually worth upgrading to the new vivo V25? Or should you save yourself some money and buy the older V23 5G instead?

vivo V25

Don’t let that new camera bump with bigger circular cutouts on the vivo V25 fool you. On paper, the cameras are close to one another but the V25 has the advantage of having a slightly wider aperture and OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) that the V23 5G doesn’t have.

vivo V25 vivo V23 5G
Wide 64MP f/1.79
PDAF, OIS + EIS
64MP f/1.89
PDAF, EIS
Ultra-WIde 8MP 120º f/2.2
Macro 2MP f/2.4
Selfie 50MP f/2.0 wide

 

50MP f/2.0 wide
8MP f/2.28 ultra-wide
+ Dual-tone Spotlight

The sad news though is that, vivo has decided to remove the extra ultra-wide selfie camera and dual flash system on the new V25.

vivo V23 with the Dual-tone Spotlight Flash feature

But how do these phones perform side-by-side knowing the new V25 also has a slightly less-powerful MediaTek Dimensity 900 chipset over V23 5G’s Dimensity 920? Are there enough convincing differences or is the older model actually better? Feed yourself some photo sample comparisons below.

Daylight

In any given circumstance, a valuable Android midranger should take at least a decent photo with natural light around — thus me taking lesser photos to compare.
Still, your judgment matters.

#1A (Ultra-wide)

vivo V25

#1B (Wide)

vivo V25

#2

#3A (Wide)

#3B (Zoom)

Food

Taking food shots (mostly with indoor lighting) is a better way to test which phone camera is capable of producing the better image output with the right amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness, temperature, as well as Dynamic Range.

#4

#5

#6

#7

#8

#9

#10

#11

*Left photo was taken multiple times with the focus tapped on the baked roll. Lens coating was also cleaned several times but still resulted to the same output.

#12

Night Mode

Low-light photos can either make or break the capabilities of a smartphone’s camera.
While it’s a mixed bag of outputs, it still depends on the user if Night Mode photos are important in a midranger or not.

#13A (Wide)

#13B (Ultra-wide)

#14

#15

#16

#17

#18

vivo V25

#19

vivo V25

#20

vivo V25

BONUS: Low-Light Selfie

For users who love taking selfies even in the dark, both phones can take fill-in flash (using the display) to brighten up your faces.

Without Flash

vivo V25

However, the ultra-wide selfie and Dual-tone Spotlight feature were removed completely from the vivo V25. You just have to guess and pick which is which.

With Flash (Aura Fill, Dual-Tone Dual Spotlight Flash)

vivo V25

Results

No more confusions, the results are consistent all throughout the board:

Photo A — vivo V23 5G

Photo B — vivo V25

Conclusion

vivo V25

While it’s barely a big camera quality improvement, the vivo V25 has rendered some of the scenes quite well such as in Photos 1A, 11, and 12 which the V23 5G failed to display at least an acceptable output. Other times, the vivo V23 5G delivered better results like in Photos 1B, 2, 3A, 4, and 13A. Those images delivered overall better photos with a sufficient amount of HDR (High Dynamic Range) and AWB (Auto White Balance).

Overall, the V25 produced better images with decent amount of highlights, shadows, contrast, sharpness. The newer model also has some slight edge on focusing and making shots brighter and more stable at night.

vivo V25

While only two selfies were provided, the V23 5G obviously has the edge — especially with its extra selfie lens and dual-flash feature.

vivo V25

If you’re coming from the V23 5G, you don’t need to upgrade to the vivo V25. Period. But, if you’re looking for a phone to replace your old vivo smartphone (or pretty much any old budget phone or midranger for that matter), buying the V25 won’t hurt.

vivo V25

Unless you’re looking for a used unit, a brand new vivo V23 5G is being sold at PhP 27,999. Whereas, a brand new V25 retails at a cheaper PhP 23,999 price tag.

vivo V25

Imho, choosing the V23 5G over the V25 is advantageous for some reasons: a more premium-looking design with metallic sides, slightly faster chipset, and the extra selfie camera.

vivo V25

But realizing how more capable the cameras of the V25 are, you can also choose it for its bigger battery and brighter display. Also, the OIS feature is very handy if you love taking photos in action or at night or just record stable-free videos without worrying about warping and jitters. At the end of the day, you should know what you value the most in buying a new smartphone.

SEE ALSO:

vivo V25 is a Night Portrait Master

Taking photos to the next level with the vivo V23 5G

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Camera Shootouts

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs 13 Pro Max vs S22 Ultra: Camera Shootout

A Very Different Camera Test

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The iPhone 14 Pro Max finally has an upgraded camera system — highlighted by its 48MP main camera sensor.

But does it really take better photos vs the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra?

Find out in our photo-walk style camera shootout with the pro-photographer and Apple’s #ShotoniPhone Macro Challenge Global Winner Tom Reeves.

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Accessories

Apple Watch Ultra Unboxing and Review (Part 1)

Is it really worth your hard-earned savings?

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After several years of waiting, an Apple Watch dedicated for explorers, adventure-seekers, and elite athletes is finally here!

Lo and behold, the new Apple Watch Ultra.

While just being a first product of its kind, it actually offers features that can rival its popular competitors.

But is it worth your hard-earned money considering its price tag starts at a whopping US$ 799 / S$ 1199 / ₱53,990?

Watch how Michael Josh unwraps the new watch in the latest Apple Watch Ultra Unboxing and First Review.

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