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Companies Outline Ideas For Trump's Border Wall

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Hundreds of companies have expressed interest in competing to build the wall that President Trump has proposed along the U.S.-Mexico border. And while the plans are supposed to meet certain specifications, the designs are running the gamut. Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: Dennis O'Leary is a former NYPD narcotics cop turned high-tech entrepreneur. His company, DarkPulse Technologies, proposes to build a wall with two features. First, he says, his concrete wall can take a punch.

DENNIS O'LEARY: It's taken direct tank hits. It's taken rocket hits. It's taken grenade hits. It's been set on fire. It's impenetrable.

GONZALES: O'Leary says a wall also needs to be smart, so his company's sensors will be layered in, under and along the wall.

O'LEARY: Which would give the capability to detect tunneling or tampering with the wall.

GONZALES: The government has told potential contractors that the wall should be aesthetically pleasing. According to media reports, one San Diego company proposes a polished concrete wall adorned with stones and artifacts. A Las Vegas company offers to put up solar panels to provide electricity for sensors and patrol stations. In New England, there's a company offering a patented wire mesh originally designed for lobster traps. Jim Knott is the CEO of Riverdale Mills Corporation in Massachusetts.

JIM KNOTT: The wire mesh has a very tight opening, so you can't get cutters into it very easily, and you cannot get a fingerhold or grip onto the product to climb.

GONZALES: Then there's a Pennsylvania company which proposes a nuclear waste wall. Wall jumpers would encounter a 100-foot deep trench with the waste at the bottom. Customs and Border Protection has not said how many companies offered design proposals. The winners will be selected in June and build their prototypes near the existing border fence in San Diego County. Richard Gonzales, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF ANATOLE'S "SURROUNDS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.