Facebook (FB) - Get Report is mainly known for its social media platform full of memes and cat videos. But at its annual developer conference, F8, this week it touched on four hardware projects being developed in two new hardware labs: Area 404 for its main lab and Building 8 reserved for an all-star tech team to work on secretive hardware devices.
The 22,000-square foot Area 404 lab was named after the "Not Found" error code because its individual hardware teams had wanted a combined space but couldn't find one -- until Area 404 opened last year. The lab is located in Facebook's Menlo Park office and has room for all of its teams, with more than 50 workbenches in the main area. "With this new space, we can now handle the majority of our modeling, prototyping, and failure analysis in-house, decreasing each iteration of the development cycle from weeks to days," Facebook CNC model maker Spencer Burns wrote in a blog post.
But even before Area 404 opened, Facebook announced last April that Building 8 would be a research lab for hardware projects built by "world-class experts to develop seemingly impossible products that define new categories," according to a job page showing open positions for the team. The group is allowed to work on projects for two years before Facebook decides whether they're worth continuing. To head the team of Building 8 experts, Facebook poached Regina Dugan, formerly a head of DARPA, from Google's Advanced Technology and Projects Group.
The hardware projects that Facebook's teams are currently working on in Area 404 and Building 8 are all part of the company's 10-year technology roadmap to make the world more open and connected. To see which hardware projects Facebook highlighted at this week's conference, keep reading.
Editors' pick: Originally published April 22.
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