I am an ICT teacher based in Asia and we want to create a robotics high school elective class.
Does Pololu have much customers in the education field?
I am aMAZEd by the maze solving capabilities of the 3pi.
I wonder, is the 3pi capable of winning regional or national high school competitions? I hear that high schools and universities in Thailand are quite good at winning line following competitions, but I am not so sure about maze solving. I have not personally seen it done at high schools here locally. Are there much maze competitions done at US high schools?
As background: I have many years of experience with robots from inex.co.th as well as the Arduino Starter Kit. However, none of these are good enough to win competitions of the sort I have discovered today at pololu.com. Now, since I work at a private school, buying equipment for an elective classroom should somehow return the investment made, either in learning outcome for the students and/or improving the schools competitiveness.
Many of our customers are teachers, students, and hobbyists, but we do not get a lot of visibility into what they are actually doing with our products. What I can say is that the 3pi has done well in our local competitions, and we have heard of people winning various other competitions with it. Generally speaking, I do not know of any similar pre-made robots or robot kits that can outperform the 3pi in tasks like maze solving and line following, but the 3pi is not specifically optimized for these applications, and I suspect someone with suitable experience could make a better custom robot. The main point of the 3pi is to provide a highly capable robot so that people can focus on the challenge of robotics programming without also having to work out a good mechanical and electrical design.
In case you haven’t seen them, we have a number of videos showing what we and some of our customers have done with the 3p:
You also might be interested in this video of a looped maze competition we held here at Pololu a few years ago; most of the entrants were based on the 3pi:
By the way, you might also find our newer Zumo 32U4 robot interesting: