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Poetry of the Robot Builders

Compiled by R. Steven Rainwater
August 2002
Updated February 2012

During the course of updating the DPRG website, I have gone through 20 years of newsletters and mailing list archives. I discovered a suprising amount of poetry hidden among the technical discussions and meeting minutes. For better or worse, I've collected it here. Read and enjoy.

Roboty Poetry for Breakfast

In October of 1998 Eric Yundt forwarded an odd email to the DPRG mailing list that he'd received from China:

From: "fuyong" 
> Subject: Robot for breakfast.
> Date: Sat, 17 Oct 1998 18:14:39 +0800
> Dear Sirs, Our company want to build some show rooms to show the 
> vistors how the future home would be. In these show rooms we want 
> to put some machine that can make breakfast, lunch, dinner fully 
> automatically. Would you like to introduce us some of the machines?
> Thanks in advance. 
> Best regards, Fu YongHaier Technology Center

The email prompted the following introduction to Pete the Breakfast Robot from Jim "The Swirling Brain" Brown.

A Robot Named Pete
by Jim Brown, October 1998

There once was a robot named Pete
Who served breakfast good enough to eat
Though he made the best eggs
He still had no legs
Only wheels that ran over everyone's feet

The salesman just had to introduce
A robot who made eggs and juice
Though Pete had no hair
A wig he could wear
For only a million he'll work like a moose

Now Pete you could buy for a steal
Though he was one fry short of a happy meal
He sputtered and spat
And made gravy from fat
So Joe thought he was getting a deal

To Joe's resturant the visitors soared
To see Pete with the lovely hair so adorned
To see a robot that made
the best eggs a hen laid
But the conversation Pete made had them bored.

Well Joe's resturant never was a success
And the kitchen was always a mess
Pete cost a cool million
But the lawsuit was a billion
Anyway, who ever heard of robots making breakfast?

Joe was hauled off by the badges
Though he did try to hide in the hedges
An eggshell in the food
By an old lady he was sued
And Pete was thrown out with the garbage

The swirling brain of Jim Brown swirled on, producing this additional poem a few days later.

A Robot Named BEFFER (for lack of a better name)
by Jim Brown, October 1998

A robot there was name BEFFER
who picked fly crap out of the pepper.
He worked hard and fast
but he was such an outcast
Because the job he had gave him a temper

To the girls Beffer was oh such a tease
But if they got too close they would sneeze
Not a girl he could win
Because their heads would all spin
Whenever the pepper caught a small breeze

There was a young lady in blue
Who wanted to try the good stew
The pepper made it hot
But she liked that a lot
It was tasty and clean from the fly doo

Well the robot the lady did sue
Soon after she did an achoo
Her expectorate did fly
And she let out a cry
As she was burned by the returning stew

Well Beffer was so very sore
And the job was again such a bore
All the pepper bottles flew
When she did that achoo
The black stuff was again mixed on the floor

The extent of swirling within Jim's brain had now reached such a peak that it prompted fellow DPRG member Larry Kerns to respond with this poem:

Get Well Soon, Jim
by Larry Kerns, October 1998

There was a young man named Jim,
Whose robotic endeavors distinquished him,
But in a turn for the worse,
He committed ideas to verse,
Now his friends think his mental health looks grim!

"Stop before its too late!", they all said,
But the notarity had gone to his head,
And when his friends he did lose,
He turned to the booze,
Noting that his robotics days were dead.

Undaunted by reports of his fall,
His robotics buddies came to call,
With robots in hand,
They took a stand,
To resurrect poor Jim from it all.

With help, Jim's recovery was fast,
Back to working his robots at last,
Between designing Darth to be autonomous,
And meetings with poets anonomous,
There's no time to mourn the past.

Get Well Soon, Jim!!

Eric Yundt's YaTu Epic

Eric Yundt's YaTu was a very unique little robot that set a new record for the Quick Trip competition at RoobRama97.a and inspired this 3-part epic poem know as the Little Yatu Chronicals. Eric has devoted a website to YaTu and you can see the original version of The YaTu Chronicals there. I've attempted to reproduce his work here as faithfully to the original as possible but the images had to be rescaled a bit to fit into the DPRG page format.

Part 1: Hey, put down that torch!
by Eric Yundt, May, 1997

Third times the charm, that's what you'll hear them say,
and clearly it was, that sultry sunny day.

The first board I wrapped, all lanky and spread,
had white wire, blue, and black wire, red.

Coding an EPROM was awkward for me,
I had no programmer and had no UV...

My next little board was tight and compact.
At two inch by three, components were stacked.

I left off the EPROM, conserved I/O pin,
RS-232 for code coming in.

It sounded ideal! No way it could fail,
but know-how is earned, it's not found for sale.

My PC would talk, controller would hear.
In the language they spoke, not a thing came through clear.

The next time I tried, I bought a bare board.
The savings in time my greatest reward.

Marvin's BOTBoard in hand, down a well travelled path,
how could I lose? You do the math.

Last joint had been soldered, all shiny and tinned.
I carefully did touch up on my little friend.

While building my BOTBoard I searched the wide web,
I wanted a good plan -- no time for adlib.

onsensus it seemed, the tools were all free,
PCBUG for the download, assembler or "C".

Made my code in "vi", assembled it through,
PCBUG spoke it clearly, the board heard it true.

I lit LED, and then made it blink.
Finally! Bot brain! Little YaTu could think!

Part 2: "Little YaTu?" I presume.
by Eric Yundt, May, 1997

Mr. Little YaTu, had been often on my mind,
I didn't know what type and didn't know what kind.

Then one day I wandered through a local thrifty store,
there he sat in pieces, his rugged box was tore.

Inert on the shelf, he had battery drain,
Little YaTu sat, no heart and no brain.

His box showed a Racer with super-grip tread,
hardened steel axles, but missing a head.

Twin Mabuchi motors and screaming-hot paint,
pictures of stunts that made lesser 'Bots faint.

I cradled the box and continued my stroll,
looking for treasures in each little hole.

Down an interesting aisle, all cluttered with toys,
I noticed the top shelf untouched by the boys.

I poked up my head to see what was there.
A forgotten toy with no one to care?

A snarling muscled head, grand dorsal on top,
the shark latex skin made my eyes almost pop!

"Belongs to Little YaTu," with a whisper I said.
And that being that, he now had a head.

Part 3: Birth of a Robot Family
by Eric Yundt, May, 1997

Four o'clock in the morning, lab had settled in,
the quiet stillness slow of try and try again...

The hours past, no progress made.
Hard-headed stuff, the dues were paid.

Tweak the program, download the code,
reset the board and watch.

Every repeated cycle lowered
excitement another notch.

Port motor ran fine, all under control,
the starboard worked, I thought he would roll.

But when trying both motors at synchronized spin,
neither would work! No way we could win!

"It beats diggin' ditches..." I said to the wall.
But who was I kidding? No one at all...

At 10 minutes plus, on the edge of a dream,
a tip from a buddy wafted slowly upstream.

"Gotta make a common ground. Connect it up real good.
It'll keep your circuits happy and working like they should.

Now, separate power's fine, and usually what you need,
but makin' common ground, that makes it all succeed..."

Three minutes later, my iron got real hot,
I stripped a piece of wire and found a good ground spot.

As I connected up the ground between my H-bridge and the brain,
it started making good sense now and now it seemed real plain.

My drowsy mind awakened thinking now here's something new.
I gently rubbed my weary eyes as my excitement grew.

Quickly loading my last code, stuff that should have worked,
I pressed the little reset switch and swear I must have smirked.

Slow blinks... Fast blinks... and then a subtle whirr...
Oh, how sweet it finally was as things began to purr!

Both Little YaTu's wheels spun madly on my command,
running an imaginary course in my imaginary land.

Going very slow at first, then going very fast.
Little YaTu quickly left our troubles in the past.

Left turns, right turns, forward and reversed,
everything we tried just worked! Our smiles nearly burst.

I knew then and so did he, that now we could compete.
A few short hours still remained until our Robo Meet.

Roborama Poetry

On the occasion of Roborama 99a, J. Reeves Hall produced a short poem commemorating the event.

Return of the Confident Builder
by J. Reeves Hall, March 1999.

The confident builder went back to his lair
Possessed by a mix of hope and despair
The rules were clear and the contest was fair
He'd tried his hardest, but his bot wasn't there...

He set the bot down and he turned on the switch
He paused for a moment to scratch an ear itch
While he wasn't looking his bot hiked a hitch
It was under some table, but he didn't know which!

Things had turned bad, it was just as he feared
He was ready to build but his bot disappeared
He'd seen lots of problems but this really was weird
He called out its name, but PICbot just sneered...

It shot out the door and drove down the street
Its wheels were faster than Builder's bare feet
The scene was resemblant of a cross country meet
Our noble PICbot would rather run than compete!

Somewhere on Earth, in a land far away
There's a place where free robots self-govern and stay
Every year on March 6 they gather and say
"We're free-roving robots; we run free today!"

Haiku for an MSP430

DPRG member Doug Emes entered and won a TI Contest held on Valentine's Day 2012 for the best Haiku written about the MSP430 microcontroller.

Why I love TI MCUs
by Doug Emes, 14 February, 2012

hello m-s-p
four thirty is your number
but love is your game

sipping power as
a wedding guest drinks champaigne
but you work better

the watchdog timer
bane of many beginners
keeps ticking onward

sixteen bits you have
of address and memory
beats eight oh five one.

capture and compare!
a register works alone
no c p u time

interrupt vectors!
triggering a chosen step
on the rise or fall

two grapes power thee
my dear microcontroller
what is not to love?

your heart stops beating
m-s-p 4-3-zero
at l-p-m four

and now my poem
of love for this little chip
has come to an end.

More Robot Poetry

If you know of other examples of DPRG robot poetry, email them to webmaster@dprg.org.
If you'd like to read more poetry about robots and other things technical, try some of these sites:

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