Building a wall across the country’s southern border was one of president Trump‘s big campaign promises that has often been criticized for its high price tag and low potential to effectively deter border crossers. Those problems might be solved by Oculus founder Palmer Luckey. The New York Times reported that Luckey is working on a new defense technology idea for surveillance that could be deployed on borders and even military bases: a virtual wall.
“We need a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer,” Luckey told The New York Times in a statement.
The Government Is All Ears
Media reports suggest that the 24-year old entrepreneur has already approached the government with his idea. Last month, Gizmodo reported that Luckey met with Ryan Zinke, Secretary, U.S. Interior Department, the day the latter took charge in April to discuss the border wall. The New York Times quoted a spokesperson for Zinke saying that he had referred Luckey to the Department of Homeland Security.
Luckey, together with his partners founded Oculus in 2012, and just two years later sold it to Facebook in a $2 billion cash and stock deal. While his latest business could stir up political turmoil, this is not the first time Luckey has been involved with politics. In fact, his political views and donations played a part in his sudden exit from Facebook. (See also: Oculus Co-Founder Palmer Luckey Leaves Facebook.)
How Will It Work?
The New York Times report suggests that Luckey’s venture will employ technology similar to that used in self-driven cars. Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) technology is a remote sensing mechanism that uses light waves in pulses to determine distances between objects. This technology is used in driverless cars or drones to detect other objects and obstacles nearby or for scientific research, for example by the National Ocean Service for their studies. In addition to that, Luckey’s system is expected to have infrared sensors and a camera to monitor activity.
According to people familiar with the system, The New York Times article suggests that this system could be put atop of telephone poles reducing costs for the government and would draw lesser degree of resistance from landowners.
Investors at the Door
Not only is the California-based business hiring people, it is also catching the eye of investors. The NYT report suggests that Paypal founder Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund is interested to back Luckey’s latest business.