The Strategist

Facebook opened the largest R&D laboratory

08/04/2016 - 13:58

On Wednesday, Facebook opened a production laboratory complete with equipment and machines for manufacture of prototypes of technical innovations. This workshop, called Area 404, has already became the largest of its kind from those available to the company. The laboratory will allow greatly accelerate development and testing of various devices.

Spencer E Holtaway via flickr
Spencer E Holtaway via flickr
Total area of the facility’s premises is approximately 2000 square meters. The object is designed for more than 50 jobs, and is located in Menlo Park (California), sharing the complex with the company's headquarters. 

The laboratory offers the latest testing equipment. Here, Facebook specialists can quickly create in-house prototypes for Oculus, Connectivity Labs, Building 8 and Infrastructure (divisions and subsidiaries of Facebook Oculus, Building 8, Connectivity Labs and Infrastructure,, involved in creation of various devices). Thus, length of development cycles in each case be reduced from several weeks to a matter of days.

Facebook is going to use Area 404 to implement a ten-year plan, which includes establishment of worldwide connectivity systems, as well as development of technologies to achieve a better "immersion effect" in virtual reality.

Oculus, in particular, produces Oculus Rift glasses to create a virtual reality effect. Connectivity Labs develops drone aircraft Aquila, powered by solar energy and designed to connect to the Internet in remote areas. Facebook announced the first successful tests of drone in late July. Building Infrastructure and 8 are involved, among other things, in establishment of various data transmission systems. 

Construction of Area 404 started at the end of last year. Currently, the studio is equipped with the latest multi-purpose lathe and vertical milling machines, waterjet cutting system for materials, electron microscopy and computer tomography, various high-precision measuring instruments. The production laboratory is divided into two parts: one is designed to perform tasks related to electrical engineering, and the second - to work with prototypes of new devices.

Name Area 404 was not chosen by chance. Error 404 occurs in Internet browsers when a page requested be a user is not found. The company explained that for a long time, it needed a room, where employees of different departments could work together.

In the near future, the workshop will recruit ten employees; in the future their number may be increased to 80.

Facebook is one of the leading social networks in the world. It was founded on 4 February 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his three fellow students during their studies at Harvard University. Currently, Zuckerberg is the company’s Head. Monthly audience numbers more than 1.71 billion social network users worldwide.