Does the name Palmer Freeman Luckey ring a bell?
Yes, we’re talking about the very same young visionary from America’s Silicon Valley who gained worldwide success and a fat cheque overnight right about three years ago when he decided to sell his first company, Oculus VR that was into manufacturing virtual-reality gear, to social networking giant Facebook for a whopping $2 billion.
Back then, Mark Zuckerberg explained that he decided to buy the 21 year old’s company as he saw Oculus Rift something far grander than a mere entertainment device. He wrote at that time, “Imagine enjoying a court-side seat at a game, studying in a classroom of students and teachers all over the world or consulting with a doctor face-to-face—just by putting on goggles in your home.”
Everything was working out beautifully for Oculus VR and Luckey till the start of this year. The success story hit a major road bump this year when Luckey was pressurised into resigning Facebook months after news hit the stands that he had secretly made monetary contributions to an organisation that worked towards spreading anti-Hillary Clinton internet memes during the much-intense US election period, which finally saw Donald Trump emerging victorious.
When the reports emerged, Luckey though didn’t entirely accept or deny the claims being made in the reports but he did slam the inaccuracies in those news pieces. However, the damage had already been done and the whole of the American tech industry, which has somewhere openly expressed its displeasure with Donald Trump becoming the US President, turned their back against him.
Since the whole pro-Trump meme scandal broke out, Luckey went into exile and remained out of public domain for sometime. But now he is back. And he is back with something new and amazing, according to him.
Luckey is currently working on a new defence-related startup that will be developing surveillance technology that could be deployed on borders between countries and around military bases. According to a New York Times report, the investment fund run by Peter Thiel, a technology adviser to Trump, has decided to support the initiative.
Not only is Luckey back to the tech scene doing what he does best, he is now also sharing his political views on social media. According to Federal Election Commission records, he has also contributed $100,000 to Trump’s inauguration, through one of his companies.
Luckey’s new defence-related startup is said to based out of Southern California and is being self-financed by Luckey for now.
According to the NYT report, people familiar with the startup and technology have revealed that it can be used for many kinds of perimeter security, including military bases and stadium events, where it could be used to detect drones. The software would allow the system to figure out themes which objects to ignore, like birds etc.
Since the project is still confidential, when will the startup see the daylight is still unknown.