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MIT Technology Review

Oculus founder Palmer Luckey is starting a virtual border-wall company

Anduril Industries is trying to use AI and VR to figure out who (or what) is crossing the border between the US and Mexico. 

Borderline: Luckey’s company, Anduril Industries, has reportedly set up three tech-laden towers on a Texas ranch; they can spot and identify moving objects (such as people and animals) up to two miles away and vividly display that information using a VR headset or a flat screen. It also has a project funded by the US government set up in southern California.

The big idea: The startup hopes the Department of Homeland Security will want to pay for its virtual border-wall technology. US Customs and Border Protection told Wired that the tech helped identify 55 people crossing the border illegally over 10 weeks.  

Trump ties: Luckey, who sold Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014, left the social network last year after an expensive lawsuit and controversy surrounding his contributions to a pro-Trump/anti-Clinton meme group called Nimble America. He also donated to Trump’s inaugural committee. And Anduril’s biggest backer is Founders Fund, which is Trump supporter Peter Thiel’s VC firm.

Andu-what? Ah, yes. The name Anduril refers to a magical sword used by Aragorn in Lord of the Rings. (The company has a replica of the movie prop in its office; you can buy your own on Amazon.)