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Oculus founder wants to put virtual eyes on the US border

Palmer Luckey is developing tech that will be able to sense illegal border crossings, according to the New York Times.

James Martin/CNET

Palmer Luckey's next venture might enable the US to install a virtual border wall. The inventor of Oculus VR is working on tech that will use infrared sensors and light detection to catch trespassers around military bases and borders, the New York Times reports.

Luckey's Oculus helped spur the current generation of virtual reality. After Facebook acquired Oculus for nearly $2 billion, Luckey would eventually leave the company after he was found to have lied about his involvement in an anti-Hillary Clinton smear group.

Luckey re-emerged as a public figure about a month ago, and now it appears he's reemerging as an inventor as well. According to the Times, Peter Thiel -- a tech advisor to President Trump -- could support Luckey's latest project via an investment firm. For now, the project is self-funded.

The tech will use lidar -- light detection and ranging -- as well as cameras and infrared sensors to watch for illegal activity around borders. The Times obtained this info via anonymous sources, but Luckey did confirm a new venture to the Times over email. "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," he reportedly said.

The tech could be used to watch the perimeter of military bases and stadiums, as well as borders.

Luckey did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Neither did Oculus or Facebook.