Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) has established a new dedicated hardware laboratory measuring 22,000 square feet, known as Area 404, at its main headquarters (HQ) at Menlo Park as part of its efforts to advance its hardware initiatives and experimental data center prospects.
Facebook Area 404
Jay Parikh, Facebook Vice President (VP) of Engineering and Infrastructure, explained that the laboratory is named after the error code “Not Found” because the company’s engineers and developers had been in constant need for prototype devices that were unfortunately not found at the HQ prior to the construction of Area 404. According to Parikh, the main goal of the establishment of the dedicated laboratory is to bring together different engineering teams, giving them an avenue to explore potential collaborative innovations.
The construction commenced nine months ago with Mikal Greaves, Facebook Mechanical and Power Manager, in charge.
Primarily, Area 404 will house the development of internet-beaming lasers, next-generation data servers, solar drones, virtual reality (VR) headsets, among others. The first team of engineers have already begun moving in.
How Area 404 will Hasten Hardware Developments
The dedicated facility is fully equipped with a number of state-of-the-art machines such as computer-controlled fabric cutter, computed tomography (CT) scanner, industrial sheet metal folding machine, milling machines, precision lathes, water jet cutters, and many more that need to be dealt with unparalleled caution, which is why there are rigorous safety measures highly observed in Area 404. Facebook implements the 5S safety system— sort, set in order, shine, standardize, and sustain— to ensure zero-accident operations.
Half of Area 404 is all for electrical engineering while the rest is meant for enhancing overall prototype development. Needless to say, with dedicated equipment, the new laboratory will enable faster and more efficient conceptualization and prototype manufacturing.
The hardware push of the social networking giant is no longer new. However, the establishment of Area 404 will allow Facebook to accelerate its progress in the industry as it seeks to work on further innovative hardware solutions for the long term. As Parikh noted, the hardware industry has been one of the California-based company’s main focus today.
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