Video: Using Scraps and Salvaged Parts, Libyan Rebels Turn Toys Into Robo-Warriors

Power Wheels Robotic Tank

Al Jazeera via YouTube

Faced with arms shortages and continual bombing by NATO and the forces of Muammar Gaddafi, rebels in Libya are becoming DIY weapons manufacturers. A school in Misrata has been transformed into a makeshift factory, where toys and trucks are turning into machine gun-equipped robots.

Al Jazeera took a tour of the DIY weapons depot, where a Power Wheels toy was transformed into a robot with a machine gun. Mohammad bin Saud's team designed the car, which can be remotely operated.

A full-sized truck can also be operated from afar, allowing the rebels to hide from snipers while aiming at their targets using a video system.

In another example, the rebels took handlebars and ball bearings from a bike, a base plate from a 4x4 truck, a tank swivel and a gun stripped from a damaged fighter plane, and turned it all into a drivable gun turret.

Battlefield robots are increasingly common among the world's armies — there are plenty serving in Iraq, for instance — so remote tanks and machine guns are not exactly new. But the DIY aspect takes it to a new level. Some of the Libyan rebels are engineers by training, happy to lend their skills to the liberation effort. But others are simply garage tinkerers — like chief weapons engineer Rajab, a former truck driver. In the Al Jazeera video below, he explains how to salvage found munitions and forge new ones.

When even outnumbered, out-equipped military forces are designing battle robots, it's pretty clear they represent the future of warfare.