Facebook consolidates hardware development in one giant lab

As it expands its mission beyond social media, Facebook looks to ramp up its hardware development process.

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Image: Facebook

Far from just a social media company at this point, Facebook on Wednesday announced that it has opened a large, general purpose hardware lab at its Menlo Park office to make its hardware development process speedier and more efficient.

Called Area 404, the 22,000-square-foot space will house the majority of Facebook's modeling, prototyping, and failure analysis. It has space for all of Facebook's hardware teams, including the Connectivity Lab team, which is working on projects like laser systems to transmit data, and the Oculus team working on virtual reality gear.

Bringing hardware development into one giant space should decrease each iteration of the development cycle from weeks to days, said Facebook, as teams "work collaboratively in the same space, learning from one another as they build". The lab consists of two main areas: electrical engineering labs for teams to test and bug designs with specialized equipment setups, and prototyping workshops stocked with a variety of machine tools.

"We're working hard to make the world more open and connected, and as shared in our 10-year roadmap, that includes building next-generation hardware -- hardware that creates smarter, more immersive experiences and systems that will connect the world," Facebook said.

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