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Facebook founds Area 404: a massive hardware lab for VR experiments
Google’s current development in Virtual Reality feels to be a bit begrudging. The search giant sees the value in VR tech, but their end-goal is to use the technologies developed with VR as a means to an end centered on Augmented Reality. Facebook, however, is setting down roots in VR, a move now clearer than ever with the launch of Area 404.
You might think that such a named site would be difficult (if not impossible) to find, but this Area’s location isn’t a secret at all. The sprawling 22,000 square foot facility resides at Facebook’s Menlo Park headquarters. Its purpose will be in developing hardware intended for use with more robust and elaborate VR technologies that will outstrip what is currently possible. This includes everything from headsets to drones to network solutions able to handle the heavy load of VR streaming.
Area 404 houses electrical engineering and prototyping workstations and sports the kind of rugged equipment you wouldn’t expect to find at a social media platform’s research facility. Milling machines, water jets, lathes, CT scanners and electron microscopes are all at the ready to produce prototypes and troubleshoot product or infrastructure related problems at a moment’s notice.
It looks like Facebook is getting into the hardware business hardcore, with a strong focus on VR related tech. It will be interesting to see what kind of physical products Facebook will be hatching at Area 404. While we wait, let us know what you think of Facebook’s foray into hardware and focus on VR in the comments below.