The Pololu 3pi robot is a complete, high-performance mobile platform featuring two micro metal gearmotors, five reflectance sensors, an 8×2 character LCD, a buzzer, and three user pushbuttons, all connected to a C-programmable ATmega328p microcontroller. Capable of speeds exceeding 3 feet per second, 3pi is a great first robot for ambitious beginners and a perfect second robot for those looking to move up from non-programmable or slower beginner robots.
The 3pi robot is designed to excel in line-following and maze-solving competitions. It has a small size (9.5 cm/3.7″ diameter, 83 g/2.9 oz without batteries) and takes just four AAA cells (not included), while a unique power system runs the motors at a constant 9.25 V independent of the battery charge level. The regulated voltage allows the 3pi to reach speeds up to 100 cm/second while making precise turns and spins that don’t vary with the battery voltage.
The 3pi robot makes a great platform for people with C programming experience to learn robotics, and it is a fun environment for ambitious beginners to learn C programming. At its heart is an Atmel ATmega168 or ATmega328P microcontroller running at 20 MHz. ATmega168-based 3pi robots feature 16 KB of flash program memory and 1 KB RAM, and 512 bytes of persistent EEPROM memory; ATmega328-based 3pi robots feature 32 KB of flash program memory, 2 KB RAM, and 1 KB of persistent EEPROM memory. The popular, free GNU C/C++ compiler works perfectly with the 3pi, Atmel’s AVR Studio provides a comfortable development environment, and an extensive set of libraries provided by Pololu makes it a breeze to interface with all of the integrated hardware. The 3pi is also compatible with the popular Arduino development platform. We provide a number of sample programs to show how to use the various 3pi components, as well as how to perform more complex behaviors such as line following and maze solving.