The war in Eastern Ukraine features crowdfunded robots. Labeled the “People's Project,” a website is collecting donations for people to buy Ukraine's government weapons for war. In March, they were raising money for a remotely controlled tank and gun turret, which is now 84 percent funded. Now, they're raising money for a 50-pound drone.
Russia is not an easy neighbor for a country to have. In 2008 they invaded parts of nearby Georgia, protecting splinter republics that exist to this day. Last year, shortly after the Winter Olympics and a protest movement in Ukraine that drove out a Russian-aligned president, Russia seized the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine, and continues to funnel arms and fighters to separatists in Eastern Ukraine as they fight against the Ukrainian government. So it's perhaps no surprise that in little Estonia, which borders Russia on the east, a company named Terramil is making simple-to-install modular underground bomb shelters.
Without planning it, the first thing I did was break a ceasefire. My newly hired infantryman marched across the rubble-strewn battlefield, soon accompanied by medics and heavy weapons. Across the way, marching from another ruined truck with a different flag on top, came my opponent's army, all in single file. Later, after my mortars fell silent and tanks broke down, I was greeted with a defeat screen, noting that while I had bested my opponent, I had really suffered a loss because of all the civilians I killed. "Battle For Donetsk" is a browser game about Ukraine's current war. It's a straightforward medium with a blunt message.
Sponsors can now fund remote-controlled weapons for war in remotely controlled lands. Ukraine is embroiled in a civil war against Russian-backed separatists, and some volunteers on the pro-Ukrainian side have set up a crowdfunding page for people to fund a tiny robot tank. Dubbed “The People's Project,” the initiative is currently 73 percent of the way toward raising the $8,000 needed to complete the machine.