Soldiers in Ukraine have been spotted using something you may have in your entertainment center at home. Recent images and Twitter posts show Ukrainian soldiers operating machine guns remotely by using video game controllers.
According to Business Insider:
Photos posted by the Ukrainian news outlet TPO Media showed Ukrainian soldiers remotely operating a machine gun turret using what appears to be a Steam Deck — a handheld video game console developed by the company Valve and released last year.
The console was being used to control the “Sabre” weapon platform, TPO Media reported. The Sabre was created as the result of a successful crowdfunding effort that launched in 2014 when Russia invaded Crimea, according to Vice. It is a remotely operated machine gun turret that can be controlled and fired from 500 meters away.
“This module is designed to destroy enemy personnel and light armored vehicles,” the crowdfunding site says. “Unlike the standard platform, the module Sabre fully protects the soldier from enemy’s fire as he is in an armored car or coordinating platform remotely.”
Valve, the maker of Steam Deck, did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
According to the tech publication PCMag, it’s unlikely Valve supports the use of the Steam Deck in this way but the company probably can’t prevent it since the console is a relatively open platform for running software.
See the photos below:
This automatic turret is the best use of Steam Deck I've seen so far 🕹️ pic.twitter.com/J727aDbBPn
— Sergey Mohov 🇺🇦 (@krides) April 24, 2023
This is not the first time this method has been used by armed forces. Both the Unite States and Israel have used Xbox consoles to operate various mechanisms such as tanks and submarines.