Tech Millionaire Leads the Charge for Border Defense

The 25-year-old millionaire responsible for creating the Oculus Rift virtual reality (VR) headset is now using VR technology to help secure the southern border. After his firing from Facebook over a year ago, Palmer Luckey has returned to the spotlight with his new plan to meld artificial intelligence and surveillance technology to track border activity. This project will send 3D images to a VR headset and will signal if an illegal alien is crossing the border.

Luckey’s claim to fame came when he received about $2.4 million in crowdfunding in 2012 to create the Oculus Rift VR headset. Just two years later, Facebook would buy the rights to the headset and the Oculus brand for $2 billion. Luckey remained with Oculus as a Facebook employee but was inexplicably fired in 2017,  after funding a group that promoted then-candidate Donald Trump.

After his stint with Facebook, Luckey created a company called Anduril Industries. Its website states that American companies need “to step up and solve crucial national security problems.” The company’s border security project is called Lattice. Lattice is still in the testing phase but is composed of “32-foot towers packed with radar, communications antennae, and a laser-enhanced camera,” according to Wired. The system uses artificial intelligence to detect illegal aliens and to recognize the difference between people, animals, and other objects. The towers used for testing, which can detect motion up to two miles away, can be transported in the back of a pickup truck and installed in less than an hour.

Thanks to the efforts of Representative Will Hurd (R-Texas), a rancher in Texas has agreed to allow Anduril to test three towers on his property, which runs along the border. Within the span of ten weeks, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), with the help of Lattice, caught 55 illegal aliens crossing the border, according to Wired.  The U.S. government is also evaluating Lattice along the border near San Diego, which led to the interception of 10 illegal border crossings in its first 12 days.

The towers transmit a video signal that can be viewed as a 3D image through a VR headset. The journalist who wrote the aforementioned Wired article was allowed to try out the system. He saw a cow labeled “ANIMAL 86%” and a human labeled “PERSON 98%” in green squares. This type of information would help CBP Officers decide where and when to deploy border enforcement resources.

Anduril Industries is currently pitching Lattice to the Department of Homeland Security. Representative Hurd said that Anduril’s project would cost about a half million dollars per mile to implement – or just under $1 billion to implement along the entire United States border with Mexico. Considering that three prototype towers have already aided in catching 55 illegal aliens, the completed project could be a great addition to the physical border wall that President Trump has been asking for.

About Author


Casey joined FAIR in 2018. He assists the research team with projects and writes for FAIR’S website. He previously spent a year working in journalism in Washington, D.C. He graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.A. in Journalism in 2017.


  1. avatar
    The American on

    Jeremy Cotton aka
    (Nate Mitchell) who is the original designer for Samsung’s Oculus

    Casey do some research n learn who really are the inventors behind Oculus…….at 25 years old
    you can have Google, Facebook the ideas a 7 year old can have that is actually tremendous….
    very creative BUT NOT an engineering company that takes lifetimes……

  2. avatar
    dale a peterson on

    COOL. please set your towers in open land south of CA border. it is impossible to build any wall in high mountain terrain. Doing this will add additional security so our rual communities will be safe.

    • avatar

      It does sound like a good concept for mountainous areas. We should all be wary of any bill being considered in the House this week. Supposedly there would be “guarantees” and “triggers” for enforcement but nothing prevents a future Congress from changing things. It has happened before with the 1986 amnesty and particularly the 2006 Secure Fence Act, which the majority of Democrats voted for, but was subsequently defunded when they took power in the next Congress.

  3. avatar

    Gee, support border security and candidate Donald Trump, get fired from FB. What a coincidence!

  4. avatar

    Not a bad idea but it is no substitute for a wall in a lot of places. But it can work in areas where the landscape makes a wall harder to build. This guy was not “inexplicably fired” from Facebook. He was fired because he supported Trump. It’s been obvious for years, in spite of Zuckerberg’s assurances, that conservative opinion is essentially downplayed and blocked on that site. And every time it occurs we get soothing words from him about how it shouldn’t have happened. Facebook has also been running TV ads about how they are going to be warm and welcoming and avoid any “fake” {meaning what they don’t like} news. 1984 is here.

    The just announced approval by a judge of the ATT and TimeWarner merger should be a concern for every American. Now other firms are going ahead with their planned mergers. The problem is that we already have media ownership in far too few hands and this will make it much worse. These companies want one thing. Profits and they will censor anything that doesn’t toe the political correctness line and makes waves.

    Funny how people like Zuckerberg, Bill Gates, Ted Turner, and much of the Hollywood and media elite have no problem with the mess they encourage here, but they insist on huge ranches in Montana Idaho, and New Zealand etc.. Zuckerburg has a wall around his large Hawaiian property.

    Supposedly “no bias” in the investigation on Hillary’s emails. Except when the FBI interviewed her they let her top aides sit in on the interview. Something NEVER done otherwise because it allow others to shape their testimony based on what she said.

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  6. avatar

    Los Angeles County alone hands LA RAZA more than a billion per year for anchor babies. These children are also citizens of Mexico.