A week ago, we wrapped up the 3rd ever defence makeathon and the first one of its type focusing on Ukraine - Garage48 Defence For Ukraine. Taking place on 17-19th of February, the makeathon focused on building real defence-related software and hardware solutions to help Ukraine combat Russia’s invasion. It was special to see everyone come together so organically, work with such passion and determination, and turn ideas into real working prototypes. We had 130 participants from over 10 different countries, made up of defence experts, developers, designers, programmers, engineers, team leaders and entrepreneurs. The teams were supported by 33 expert mentors and the 3 winners shared a massive prize pool of 30,000 Euros.
Going into the makeathon, the focus topics set by our experts and partners were UAVs, Logistics, Critical Infrastructure, Trenches, Friend or Foe Identification and Medical Solutions. Over the weekend the participants formed 18 teams and had 48 hours to work with their teammates and mentors to develop working prototypes, which they then presented to our jury on Sunday. Around 70% of the teams formed were in the UAVs category, however, all three winners fell under other categories.
We’d like to thank Wayren, Defence Estonia, Krattworks, SensusQ, DefSecIntel, RangeForce, Cybernetica, AS Threod Systems, VegVisir, Microsoft and CR14 for their invaluable input and expertise.
Why Defence For Ukraine?
While Russia’s armed aggression against Ukraine has been going on for more than eight years, it’s now been a year since the start of Russia’s full scale invasion of Ukraine. It is now more important than ever to do anything we can. When the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications and Minister Järvan approached us with the idea - it was a no brainer. Developments in the defence sector are traditionally hindered and slowed by bureaucracy, regulations and legislature. However today, Ukraine needs novel, cost-efficient and quick-to-implement defence solutions, which is why we brought together the fast-paced technology sector and the defence industry to advance cooperation and develop critical and urgent solutions.
Garage48 has been organizing projects in Ukraine for the past ten years, supporting the development of the country's entrepreneurial mindset and startup ecosystem. It has been incredible to see the transformation of the former Soviet country into an actual buzzing startup hub, and even more devastating seeing that Ukraine has become a hotspot of war, the consequences of which will take years to restore and rebuild. We will continue to do all it takes to support Ukrainians on their road to recovery and stability!
"I believe that the Estonian defense industry has very large growth potential based on the symbiosis of the professionalism of our defense forces and the ingenuity of our start-ups. During these two days, different real working solutions were created, which would be useful for Ukrainians on the front line. I was very happy to see so many talented engineers and their practical ideas on how to solve important problems in Ukraine.”
– Kristjan Järvan, Minister of Entrepreneurship and Information Technology
“Usually our hackathons bring together a group of people incidentally, however, at Garage48 Defence For Ukraine, you could really see that the participants had arrived as ready-made-teams on a mission. Every participant really cared passionately about the topic. We’ve seen before how people are very resourceful in such high-stakes situations, and I'm sure that more than a few ideas from this makeathon will find their application in Ukraine."
- Priit Salumaa, Garage48 Co-Founder and Host
Meet the winners!
I place: Low-cost Metal Detector - Cheap, reliable and easily produced metal detectors to de-mine Ukraine. They won the main prize of 15,000 Euros.
“I am confident in our product and I’m going to have to go personally test it out on a mine-field.”
- Ronalds Breikšs, Low-cost Metal Detector Team Lead
II place: Last Mile - A portable system that fits into a suitcase to turn any car into a remote controlled vehicle. The invention is important in emergency frontline transport in order to save lives. They won a cash prize of 10,000 Euros.
III place: Life Warmer - An insulated and temperature controlled system for medics to warm IV fluids before administering them to a wounded person. They received 5,000 Euros to kickstart their product.
sTARTUp Day tickets: Kraken - An app where civilians can post pics with geolocations to submit enemy locations or issues that need to be dealt with in the war zone.
Access to CR14: StratCommX - A web plugin to detect & identify propaganda using AI. The data is then collected, analysed and relevant anti-propaganda measures can be taken.
Access to CR14: Rorschach 2 - A mobile app that enables safe, encrypted communication over any audio carrier.
Here’s a list of all participating teams.
Bercman and Krakul - An acoustic drone detection system which is portable and easy-to-install for detecting drones within a 500 meter perimeter.
Chaingrow - A team consisting fully of Ukrainian nationals developing an early warning sound detection system.
Eyes for Ukraine - They developed a radio direction finding system with a physical prototype and software solution.
Fence 4 Trench - Anti-drone & anti-tresspass radar, based on radio, acoustic and visual identification. Protection for trenches & logistics against artillery and kamikaze drones. Enhanced security for any perimeter.
Life Warmer - An insulated and temperature controlled system for medics to warm IV fluids before administering them to a wounded person.
Kraken - An app where civilians can post pics with geolocations to submit enemy locations or issues that need to be dealt with in the war zone.
Krattly - A boomerang drone able to locate drones autonomously and collect air sim data.
Krattworks - AGNSS loss recovery flight mode for px4 ardupilot enabling drones autonomously find their way back to the pilot when jammed.
N Lab - An unmanned water platform “GERR-X” with multi-functional usability. The concept of the platform’s function and design was born at the Riga Defense Makeathon, where the team won an award. As part of the Tartu Defense Makeathon, the team wants to solve problems and challenges in wartime conditions related to the water area of the Dnieper River in Ukraine.
Norland Dynamics - Military Grade E-bikes to mobilize troops, equipment, snipers, and intelligence gathering units.
Startcomm X - A browser plugin for propaganda detection using AI. On top of that they aim to have a platform for propaganda analytics and development of counter measures.
Rorschach Industries I - Drop & Forget single use disposable fully automatic propaganda radio costing under 50€ per unit.
FPV drone - A cost effective disposable small offensive fpv drone with heavy lift capabilities.
Rorschach Industries II - A mobile app that enables safe, encrypted communication over any audio carrier. Mobile phone, fixed phone, old military radio etc.
Wayren - Voice messaging over mixed (digital/analog) networks using Wayren Data Exchange Platform.
Ares (PCB Drones) - A cheap, quick-to-assemble, mass manufacturable drone, that would use a single PCB as a flight controller, motor controllers and communications, and also be structural frame of the drone.
Low-cost metal detector - Pretty self-explanatory. Cheap, reliable and easily produced metal detectors to de-mine Ukraine.
Last Mile - A portable system that fits into a suitcase to turn any car into a remote controlled vehicle.
Thank you to Mr. Serhii Omelchenko, Advisor to the Secretary of the National Security & Defence Council of Ukraine, for taking the time and coming all the way from Kyiv to Tartu in order to offer his expertise to the teams, help validate their ideas and be a part of the jury.
“It was a big pleasure to see the Estonian people create such an initiative of bringing together high tech startups and smart people to specifically create ideas to deploy for the Ukrainian Armed Forces and for the people of Ukraine, who are right now fighting for their freedom. This support and help is very much appreciated."
- Serhii Omelchenko, Advisor to the Secretary of the National Security & Defence Council of Ukraine
We couldn’t have done it without the help of our mentors: Martin Grüner, Orm-Gregori Joost, Rokas Tamošiūnas, Henry Härm, Calum Cameron, Tanel Tärgla, Mikk Antsov, Martin Verrev, Jaanus Sakkis, Romet Tagobert, Tarmo Aia, Kirils Solovjovs, Timo Truumaa, Uko Valtenberg, Remo Ojaste, Andres Moks, Vitalii Lakusta, Karl-Eerik Unt, Kristjan Pihus, Kristo Pals, Juris Klava, Marko Luik, Henri Sellis, Indrek Rebane, Aivars Vaivods, Krister Kansi, Andrus Padar, Markus Otsus, Mert Meiessaar & Janis Grinhofs. Nor could we have done it without the help of our volunteer Nele Leit-Teetlaus.
A big big thank you to everyone involved!
If you want to see more of the Garage48 Defence For Ukraine makeathon:
Check out the whole photo album.
Photos by Oskar Kivilaan.
Participation in this event was supported by the Estonian Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications.