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As many of the latest innovations coming out of the Menlo Park-based tech company have suggested, Facebook is determined to make as many strides in the physical realm as it has in cyberspace. By building everything from VR headsets to Internet-beaming drones, Facebook has made it clear that engineering physical products is a large part of its plans for the future, moving decisively away from limiting itself to the social media space.
Doubling down on this ambition, Facebook has just opened a massive 22,000 square foot facility in its headquarters, dubbed Area 404 (a play on the error message that appears when a site is not found). Engadget reports that this will be a home and workspace for Facebook hardware engineers as they conduct “modeling, prototyping, and failure analysis”.
Unlike traditional labs that segregate teams according to the products they are assigned to, Area 404 broadly divides its workers into electrical engineering and prototyping divisions in order to encourage cross-collaboration, synergy, and innovation. The prototyping facility is fully stocked with industrial-grade heavy machinery, including computerized lathes and industrial mills, The New York Times reports.
Engineers in Area 404 will tinker with a vast range of devices meant to increase and strengthen the connections between people and deepen their engagement with the internet, including virtual reality headsets, data centers, video cameras, drone propellers, and laser mounts. Many of these products are not meant for consumers, aside from the Oculus VR headsets, and are rather aimed at progressing industries ranging from telecommunications to data storage.
Featured Photo: Wired