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

Realme XT vs Samsung Galaxy A71: Camera shootout

64-megapixel camera battle!

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Nowadays, midrange smartphones pack a punch in the camera department. Sporting 64-megapixel cameras, one can’t help but wonder which smartphone takes better photos. Here, we compared the Realme XT (PhP 16,990/ US$ 333) and Samsung Galaxy A71 (PhP 22,990/ US$ 450) with a PhP 6,000/ US$ 118 difference.

Just like all of our camera shootouts, no edits were done except resizing for faster preview and watermark to quickly identify the shot.

Which smartphone do you think will win? Let’s have a 64-megapixel camera battle!

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Analysis

We all know the Realme XT and Samsung Galaxy A71 produce 64-megapixel photos through pixel-binned 16-megapixel shots.

If you analyze the differences, the Realme XT has a red tint, but it produces an accurate color reproduction albeit a little bright and washed out.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy A71 is a bit processed. It’s saturated yet lively, comprised of better contrasts and deeper blacks, but comes with a greener tint. Furthermore, its exposure is a hit or miss, and on most occasions, it produces bad highlights.

Since the photos were downsized for faster loading, we’ve compiled the original, high-resolution photos in respective Google Drive links: Realme XT | Samsung Galaxy A71.

Verdict

At the end of the day, both smartphones produce decent 64-megapixel shots, especially for the price it commands. However, it makes us wonder: Do we really need higher megapixels? Maybe we do, but maybe we also don’t.

For now, we can enjoy every smartphone’s attempt to make better images. After all, it’s us who benefit the most. So, which 64-megapixel camera phone shoots better for you? Let us know and share your thoughts with us on our social channels!

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Galaxy S20

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra Unboxing

Unpacked it for you

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra marks the first “Ultra” device made by Samsung. Despite its hefty price tag and similar box content as other S20 models, it’s heavier with specs and features.

Here’s our Galaxy S20 Ultra unboxing.

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Features

A journey to self-love: How to set your financial goals straight

With CIMB Bank’s help

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Image: MJ | GadgetMatch

There was a point in my life when adulting hit me hard: my romantic relationship suddenly ended, which coincided with my resignation from my full-time job of three years. The thing is, I had a plan before everything happened, but life is indeed full of unexpected moments.

I decided to take a rest first to clear my overwhelmed mind. I ended up doing what most young adults like me would do: travelled to different places, went out with friends, volunteered for several causes, and spoiled myself with my favorite things and experiences — everything that involved doing what I love and seizing life’s great moments.

I was busy indulging myself in this idea of “self-love” until I realized that my bank account was draining every single week, and I was close to maxing out my credit card limit. That’s when it hit me: I wasn’t financially prepared to sustain this kind of lifestyle. 

Self-love is more than just showering yourself with pretty things

We all have this idea that “self-love” is about indulging in life’s best comforts, and doing whatever sets our soul on fire. Newsflash: real life is much trickier than these scenarios we see in rom-com films.

For me, I had to take more extra work to do these things I love, while still being able to pay bills. I regretted not being able to save up more and use my money wisely. I eventually found myself living life from paycheck to paycheck, and I realized that this is not the life I wanted to live. I couldn’t fully enjoy life’s moments, since my financial restrictions were always at the back of my mind. 

I have come to understand the real concept of self-love — that it is actually about creating a life that is prepared for whatever life’s challenges throw at us. Instead of treating ourselves to short-lived thrills, it’s much better to manage our finances first so we’re always ready for the next big thing. Being smart with our finances is indeed a great form of self-care. 

Seize life’s moments by being financially fit

CIMB Bank, the “Best Digital Bank” in the Philippines is a great choice for people like me who want to save up for life’s next moments. The best thing about it is I can open an account seamlessly in just 10 minutes — no need to personally enroll in a branch and wait for weeks to secure an account. No wonder they have been recently awarded as the “Fastest Growing Digital Bank” as well.

Through the CIMB Bank PH mobile app (iOS/ Android), managing and accessing my money is also much easier compared to other banks. They offer great perks and services such as transacting with other banks for free, withdrawing in over 25,000 ATM machines nationwide without penalty charges via Visa pay, wave debit card, and not be bothered by maintaining balances.

I can also access my cash 24/7 in just a few taps, and it’s connected to other local payment gateways I frequently use like GCash and dragonpay, so it greatly fits my flexible lifestyle.

True to its commitment to helping Filipinos achieve financial inclusion and freedom, this all-digital, mobile-first bank offers an interest rate of four percent (4%) per annum available all year round, with no restrictions, via its UpSave account offering. It’s the best-in-market savings rate, which makes me save more money without worrying about security. They also offer up to Php 2 million worth of life insurance coverage!

With CIMB Bank, I can track my savings easily and invest my money in experiences that will allow me to feed my passions. When the time comes that life throws more unexpected moments, I know I’m financially secured to handle it. And that is one of the best forms of love I can give to myself.

To know more about CIMB Bank PH, click here.


This feature was produced in collaboration with Her GadgetMatch and CIMB Philippines.


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