New footage has emerged of Ukrainian military personnel using a Steam Deck to pilot a remote-control turret. The footage, which was first shared on Instagram by TRO Media and later picked up by PC Gamer, shows the turret being explicitly controlled by the portable PC. The turret in question is a Shablya model developed by Ukrainian firm Global Dynamics. Crowdfunding via People’s Project raised approximately $12,000 USD to supply ten of the remote weapon stations to the Ukraine armed forces.
Why Use a Video Game Device to Control a Remote Turret?
It might seem odd to some that a gaming device is being used for military purposes, but an expert in the field, Aric Toler, speaking to PC Gamer, explains why the Steam Deck is perfect for this kind of usage. The device is a “totally native OS client”, meaning that it is easy to use with a touch screen and an excellent controller. Toler states that it “makes perfect sense for a Steam Deck to be used, assuming the software is Linux-compatible.”
Gaming and Military Technology
The link between video gaming technology and military technology goes right back to the early days of the medium. Initial flight simulators were developed for training military pilots. The use of gaming controllers like the Xbox controller has become increasingly common for controlling a range of systems, from submarines to photonics masts, and even giant laser cannons. In an unusual twist, War Thunder players even used the game to leak classified military documents in a bid to correct perceived inaccuracies in the vehicle combat-themed game.
Steam Deck: More than Just a Gaming Device?
The Ukrainian military’s use of the Steam Deck is an interesting example of how everyday technology can have both recreational and practical applications. It also raises the question of whether devices like Steam Deck and their increasing power and versatility will usher in a new era of mobile computing and remote control applications.
The Ukrainian army’s adoption of the Steam Deck shows that gaming technology can have a range of applications beyond the world of entertainment. It is an example of how technology can be adapted and repurposed for military and other practical applications. Whether this will lead to more adoption of everyday devices for practical purposes remains to be seen, but it certainly offers an interesting glimpse into the future of military technology.