Facebook Creates Giant Hardware Lab To Build VR and Drones

Called "Area 404"

An engineer works the Facebook lab's 9-axis lathe, to be used for prototyping networking technology.
An engineer works the Facebook lab's 9-axis lathe, to be used for prototyping networking technology.Facebook

Earlier this year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced his 10-year plan : to build things. Not just software, nor platforms, but physical things that people can touch and use. It's a departure for a social media company.

But to build physical objects, Facebook needed a space to put it all together. Today, the company announced Area 404, its new hardware lab. It's a 22,000-square-foot space that the company will use to develop prototypes ranging from virtual reality to internet drones and open-source networking hardware.

In a post on Facebook, Zuckerberg said the lab's machinery was so heavy that they needed to remove the floor of the building and drill to the bedrock for support.

From his post:

The new lab is the size of half a football field and is filled with everything from a 5-axis water jet that can cut through steel and granite to a 9-axis mill-turn lathe. It's even got an electron microscope and a CT scanner that will let engineers examine components for failure analysis.

Facebook's new water jet is used to cut steel, at 60,000 psi.
Facebook's new water jet is used to cut steel, at 60,000 psi.Facebook