Virtual Reality, or “VR” in today’s acronym-friendly world, has been a conceptional idea since I was a kid in the 80’s. VR really didn’t have a place in mainstream gaming until recently with the release of VR headsets and more specifically, the Oculus Rift.
The Oculus Rift is like the Apple of VR headsets as it works flawlessly and it will no doubt cost you a small fortune. The founder of Oculus Rift, fortuitously named Palmer Luckey, sold his VR company to Facebook in 2014 for $2 million; a full two years before its release.
Now, three years later, Mr. Luckey is back with a new kind of technology but this time will serve our country and his wallet at the same time. As of this writing, Palmer is merely “working on” the new company but has reportedly spoken with Steve Bannon and Peter Thiel about building a virtual border wall.
The next generation of homeland security
“We are spending more than ever on defense technology,” Luckey stated to The New York Times, “yet the pace of innovation has been slowing for decades. We need a new kind of defense company…” And new technology is what’s being made from a mix of lidar technology (currently used in self-driving cars) and motion sensors.
This new technology will not only be used for border walls surrounding the United States, but would also be utilized on our military bases as a way to detect drones, but would be advanced enough to ignore birds and any other nonthreatening airborne creature or debris.
Just last month, Palmer Luckey met with US secretary Ryan Zinke to discuss the possibility of a virtual border wall consisting of high-tech cameras being mounted on poles but could possibly evolve into drone-powered surveillance or a subterranean sensory system.
The lidar system (Light Detection and Ranging) works by light from a laser hitting a surface, then is reflected back to a sensor which calculates the distance it has traveled. Luckey would combine this technology with infrared cameras to detect movement in the distance.
How and when could this border wall be engaged?
According to experts, getting a border wall physically built by the year 2020 is a naive and far-fetched notion. A virtual wall, on the other hand, would take just a couple of short years since the bulk of the work is done offsite with computers and programmers.
With a physically wall, our government would need to hire thousands of workers to cover the nearly 2,000 miles of border as well as pay for concrete, steel, and whatever other materials would be used for this massive wall.
However, a virtual wall would cost only a fraction of that of an actual wall thanks to manpower in an air-conditioned office being almost all of the expenses. Luckily, all the materials needed for this technology would be lightweight and easily attained by our government.
So far, Palmer Luckey’s new company has gotten the support of multiple members of the Trump cabinet as well as former Oculus Rift employee Christopher Dycus from their hardware engineering department.
The company is currently based in Southern California and has only a handful of employees, but it doesn’t hurt that they have the backing (both supportive and financially) of our government. Palmer Luckey was ousted by Facebook back in September for funding a meme service focused on discrediting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for $100,000.