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Remote-controlled paintball bot shoots to thrill

Ultimate weapon for weekend warriors has battle potential for the real thing. Think monster truck meets Panzer meets adolescent tech fantasy.

Crowdfunding site Kickstarter could be the site to launch a thousand 21st century ships--and perhaps one paintball-shooting tank. Earlier this year the TikTok and Lunatik dropped. The kits turn an iPod Nano into a sweet Dick Tracy-esque wristwatch, and got a major boost after designer Scott Wilson set out to raise $15,000 in funds on Kickstarter, and wound up with more than a million dollars from more than 13,000 people.

Now, another project featured on the site gives robot fanatics a chance to put their money where their most awesome nightmares are and get in on the ground floor with our future 'bot overlords. Industrial design veteran Chris Rogers has set the same fundraising threshold for his latest project: a remote-controlled, paintball-firing tank. Think monster truck meets Panzer meets adolescent tech fantasy.

While the recreational applications are pretty clear, Rogers has his sights set on eventually being able to save lives with the technology, perhaps in the military arena or other dangerous environments. One of his previous bots, the "Mega Hurtz," made sans paintball gun, is a four-wheel-drive model capable of towing an SUV or pulling a full-size man to safety, but the unit itself is still not much larger than a microwave.

Rogers has built paintball-firing remote-controlled vehicles before, but this would be his first attempt at an actual tracked, tank-style vehicle. The hope is that tracks will help conquer one obstacle where all his previous wheeled creations have fallen short--steps and steep inclines, and perhaps one day, the rocky terrain of Afghanistan.

As of this writing, Rogers' project has 14 backers pledging nearly a grand to the effort with roughly three weeks left to reach his $15,000 goal. For their time and tuppence, donors will receive photos and updates at a minimum (pledge of $10 or more) on up to a complete Robotic Paintball Platform Kit ($2,100 or more). Of course, if that's too rich for your blood, you can always keep it simple and stick with the desktop, USB-charged, iOS-controlled TankBot.