Palmer Luckey of Oculus fame turns his attention to ‘defense’ and our borders

Palmer Luckey, the controversial Oculus co-founder who left Facebook a couple of months ago, is working on another startup.

Did we mention controversial?

Luckey is working on “a new kind of defense company, one that will save taxpayer dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safer,” he told the New York Times, which reports that the startup will be backed by prominent Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel. The newspaper describes the technology as a “virtual border wall.”

Politics unofficially helped drive Luckey out of Facebook, which paid $2 billion to buy virtual-reality startup Oculus. Before the U.S. presidential election last year, Luckey was found to have donated money to a pro-Trump, anti-Hillary Clinton meme operation. (Luckey defended himself by saying he was a libertarian who planned to vote for Gary Johnson.) The group, Nimble America, was reportedly founded by a couple of moderators of a pro-Trump sub-Reddit known for racist memes.

Now, Luckey is concerned about monitoring the nation’s borders. His Southern California-based startup uses LiDAR, sensors and cameras that can be used for perimeter security, according to the New York Times. The newspaper also reports that Luckey has talked with Trump strategist Steve Bannon about using sensor technology at the Mexican border.

And he’s talking about politics on Reddit again. This is from a post last month on a thread about an article with the headline “Steve Wozniak is disappointed in Palmer Luckey”:

Some people want founders to keep their politics private and away from their business, others think they should do everything out in the open in a vocal way. You can’t make everyone happy, and there are good arguments on both sides , but it is clear that people who happen to align with opinions held by the majority of the media come out ahead either way.

By the way, Luckey, now 24, was 21 when Facebook bought Oculus. What has he done with his fortune so far? He has apparently stocked up on military-themed items: “a luxury home built atop a decommissioned Atlas missile silo” in upstate New York; a property in Chico with “decommissioned Titan 1 missile silos”; and several military vehicles, according to the New York Times.


Photo: Oculus co-founder Palmer Luckey holds up the new Oculus Rift virtual reality headset for photographers after a news conference in June 2015 in San Francisco. (Eric Risberg/AP)


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