Palmer Luckey’s New Startup Is A Military And Border Surveillance Company

by Jamie Feltham • June 5th, 2017

It was just over two months ago now that Oculus Rift creator Palmer Luckey parted ways with Facebook. This week, we’ve finally found out what he’s doing next.

The New York Times cites three sources familiar with the matter in saying that that Luckey has once again started up a new company. Instead of VR, though, this startup is working on surveillance technology targeted for use at countries between borders and military crossings. The unrevealed company has not yet been given a public name.

Luckey’s new tech supposedly uses light detection and ranging (LIDAR), combined with infrared sensors and cameras to monitor people crossing borders. It’s not mentioned if any of this tech might also use 360 degree cameras or other products of the VR industry that he helped rejuvenate over the past five years.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal and technology adviser to Donald Trump, is reportedly planning to support the effort via his investment fund, though for now the group remains self-funded by Luckey himself. The Oculus co-founder confirmed the news to the site, stating that the company would “save taxpayers dollars while creating superior technology to keep our troops and citizens safes.”

Luckey left Facebook following reports that he had funded a political smear campaign during the 2016 US election. Following that reveal, he disappeared from the spotlight, only resurfacing to attend the court battle between Oculus and ZeniMax Media, which sued the VR specialist not long after it was purchased by Facebook. The lawsuit found Luckey in breach of a non-disclosure agreement and ordered Oculus to pay ZeniMax $500,000,000. Over a month after the verdict was given, Facebook announced Luckey’s departure with no reference to these prior events.

For Luckey, it’s a return to the startup days similar to those forming Oculus with Brendan Iribe, Nate Mitchell and others in 2012. Tellingly, he’s hired Oculus’ first employee, Chirs Dycus, who left Oculus in late May expressing the desire to work in the “start-up mentality of ‘everybody-does-everything'” once more.

It sounds like Luckey is well and truly out of the VR industry, then.

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What's your reaction?
  • chicanoterp06

    it ordered them to pay 500,000,000.00 not 500,000.

  • What the hell? What an insidious thing to go into, especially after being involved in something as cool and creative as VR.

    • 1droidfan

      Just wondering who is enslaved by monitoring a border?

      • disqus_j6QaPb9ANG

        East Germany would like a word with you.

        • marcuskscott3

          That was to keep people in bro…

          • disqus_j6QaPb9ANG

            That’s my point.

          • Gerald Terveen

            it was meant to keep people from finding a better life by passing to a different place … see any similarities? and yes – right now that means the one direction, but as things are going in a decade the direction might change …

          • marcuskscott3

            You can either have a nanny state or open borders, not both.

          • daveinpublic

            As a benefit, it will make it harder for terrorists to come and go through those areas.

          • Gerald Terveen

            we should just make all Americans stay at home – as a benefit it will make it harder for terrorists to attack groups of people.
            you can go and put a terrorist on every little thing of BS you want to justify, but it still is silly given how little terrorists actually do damage wise

    • Stranger On The Road

      well, the VR community did shun him, did they not? Him staying in VR in particular or gaming in general would have been a bad idea considering how vocal people are about anything to do with him.

      and why is boards monitoring ‘insidious’? And how the flip does it ‘enslave’ people? Boards monitoring is a normal thing, every country in the world does it. Don’t let Drumph’s opinions blind you to the rest of the world. As far as the world is concerned, this will be just another company in an existing field.

      • polysix

        Not all of the VR community shunned him, only the self righteous hard left SJW elite with a media platform to promote their intolerance of different opinions from. Lefties.. real hard lefties… fkin suck.

      • daveinpublic

        He probably didn’t stick around in VR because everything that needs to be done is getting done already. And he had a big part of that. Now, he’s looking for industries that aren’t developed, so he can bring the same kind of disruption.

    • William Wallace

      Palmer rocks, his new twitter picture is the A OK hand sign that stands for white power. He is going to stop these beaners and muzzies from overwhelming our country. A true Patriot. Proud of him.

      • Tucci

        ^this is unacceptable. White Supremacy is not welcome in the VR community. Immigrants help build all of these technologies

        I’d rather have millions more people from the two groups you mentioned in our country than one more white supremacist POS.

        • polysix

          please stop the virtue signalling. If push came to shove and you had either a white bigot with O.T.T views or a muslim islamic terrorist with a suicide vest turn up on your doorstep and had to invite one in…

          Of course, you could continue down the path of self destruction, living in a cloud cuck(oo) land where it’s all rainbows and roses and nobody hurts anyone. The minute isis and similar groups and crime gangs cease, then I’ll be there with you voting for ‘open’ everything and welcoming every race/religion. As it stands I’d rather not invite death into my own home, you can do that if you want. and before you dish out the tired old ‘racist’ card, I’ve many SIKH, chinese and other varied race/religion friends and have since my first days at school back in the 80s. I’m in the U.K from a city high in multiculturalism and wouldn’t want to see my ethnic brothers kicked out or picked on, what I do want though is a crack down on islamic extremism and mass muslim immigration (Which often conceals or breeds terrorists in the influx as we’ve seen across Europe)

          I do think it’s a bit crap that Palmer has moved from VR into this stuff, not because we don’t need this stuff but because it shows he’s probably given up on VR as a whole which could mean he thinks it’s not as good as he thought.

          One last thought, I’ve always felt sick at the thought of ‘white supremacist’, KKK etc, pure idiots and often evil, but if ISIS and others continue on as they are then they are only PROVING that other races are more ‘supreme’ (intelligent and diplomatic) not just whites but chinese, sikh and many others. Nobody but the extremist muslims are tarnishing their image. After the past month in the UK tolerance is at an all time low. Prob what ISIS want but it’s human to feel that way when kids are blown up at concerts. A sit down and a cup of tea with ISIS won’t work.

          • Bundy

            I wouldn’t let either in. But that’s just me.

      • jimrp

        Don’t be a douche. You’re probably not white. What libs will do.

    • NooYawker

      You still had respect for this guy?

  • iThinkMyCatIsAFlea

    Just remember, if you buy an Oculus Rift headset or any Oculus software, some of your money will end up in Palmer’s pocket.

    • Nicholas


    • polysix

      and? Not all of us give a damn who he voted for or what he does with his spare cash. Get over it you lefty twit. I’m frankly MORE upset/annoyed/scared by any MORE money going to Facebook who are far more “evil” than trump or luckey and have even less of your interest at heart. You can’t see that though, shame for you.

      • Bundy

        Yup. I don’t care for Trump or his policies but Luckey is allowed to vote for and support whoever he likes. He got kicked out of his own company for backing a politician. That should worry you more than anything else.

        • NooYawker

          Nimble America went beyond merely backing a politician. It promoted fake new and promoted racism. That’s why he was shunned from the VR community.

          • PalmerTech

            “It promoted fake new and promoted racism.”


          • daveinpublic

            At the time Luckey gave them a small amount of money, all they had done was a simple billboard saying Hillary wasn’t great. But, the liberals are getting more and more petulant as the years go by. They literally don’t care about freedom anymore, it’s just about bullying anyone who doesn’t vote the way you want. And if you choose another path, they’ll use name calling and labeling and say you’re a racist if you dare to vote a different way. News flash. People who believe differently than you aren’t always racists. Sometimes they don’t like to see a $20 trillion dollar deficit.

          • NooYawker

            What he did is public record, whether or not you acknowledge it is beyond my control.
            Yea, the deficit is why you voted for Trump. Happy with your decision?

    • ballyorney

      As it should!!! His foundational contribution to VR today is and will always be immense regardless of what his personal politics may or may not be. Damn it man, people need to stop acting like they have some entitlement to tell other people what they should think or do. Show some respect.

      • NooYawker

        His kickstarter campaign wouldn’t have gone far if it wasn’t for Carmack. But yes Palmer does deserve credit for his part. But that doesn’t change the fact he’s a scumbag. People call Steve Jobs and asshole all the time, and he was. Bill Gates was one of the most evil people around when he helmed MS. Can’t change facts.

        • ballyorney

          I have to say I cant really agree with anything you have said but apart from the rest of the nonsense (Bill Gates as “one of the most evil people around” – RLY?) can you tell me exactly why you think (remember opinions are not “facts”) Palmer Luckey is a scumbag?

  • zflorence1

    This is rather surprising, yet really not if you think about it. I can’t wait till all of the liberal media fed hyper-“intellectuals” begin again with driving the conversation to what essentially boils down to a left versus right discussion… oh, wait – they are already here. Its unfortunate that any mention of universal and practical things like border control automatically brings up images of Big Brother and one world government youtube videos to most within the entertainment field. My respect for pop-tech enthusiasts just “dropped a whole lot.” j/k Seriously, I would have liked to see him stick around in VR. However, I’d be very surprised if this was the only thing he had going on, and even more so if he wasn’t working on something related to virtual reality as well.

  • koenshaku

    This has more to do with clicks than VR..

  • Abe Kim

    Genius! This is Palmer’s plan to get back into VR all along.

    Setup 360 cameras that are VR compatible. Have people with their Oculus/Vive provide free surveillance monitoring via a game called “Border Patrol”!!! Bringing a whole new meaning to the phrase “Reality meets Virtual Reality” —- now your in-game border patrol actions has real world consequences!!!

    • Robbie Cartwright


    • Tyler Soward

      You might not be too far off LOL

  • Caven

    Hopefully he doesn’t steal Zenimax’s proprietary border surveillance technology…