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Goodbye Building 8: Facebook restructures its most mysterious hardware development department

via:雷锋网     time:2018/12/16 23:42:26     readed:468

It is reported that the restructuring did not lead to any layoffs. Rafa Camargo, former Head of Building 8, was transferred to Vice President of Portal Team. Facebook Reality Lab is still led by Michael Abrash, who has long held the helm of Facebook VR/AR business.

Clear architecture

A Facebook spokesman confirmed the restructuring, but said it did not mean the failure of Building 8, but a clearer architecture.


[Image source: Twitter owner: @boztank]

TechCrunch, a foreign media company, believes that Facebook's move is intended to pull some of its research and development technology away from its original track, while others are closer to the product's landing.

With the development of Brain-Computer Interface (BCI), Software Robot and Wearable Hearing Aid (DAE), which originally belonged to Building 8, to Facebook Reality Lab, this department, which originally focused on technology development in VR/AR, is expanding its business scope. However, Facebook Reality Lab's research projects are less likely to be commercialized in recent years.

At the same time, the new brand Portal will be more pragmatic, keeping its projects closer to the C-end products. After all, the basic product of this brand is a brand new product with the same name.videoThe chat device was released in October this year.

Moonshot lunar landing program

Industry insiders have developed a proper term for what happens inside Building 8, Moonshots, which means a breakthrough project with unlimited potential. This code also represents to some extent the importance of Building 8 for Facebook and the industry as a whole.

In April 2016, Facebook Building 8 surfaced with the arrival of Regina Dugan, a former research director at DARPA.


[Image Source: Flickr Owner: Asa Mathat]

At the time, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the Building 8 team, based at Apple, would follow the 10-year roadmap released at the F8 conference and focus on the frontier areas of VR/AR, artificial intelligence, brain-computer interface, and so on. Motorola, Google and other heavyweights.

Before joining Facebook, Dugan was head of Google's Advanced Technology and Projects division. That's why Building 8 is considered the beginning of Facebook's entanglement with Google in advanced technology.

ATAP was founded in 2012 and was part of Motorola, which was retained after Google sold Motorola to Lenovo.

During his tenure at ATAP, Dugan made many bold assumptions, such as the identity authentication system that can be swallowed into the body, Tango 3D spatial map (which has been incorporated into Google AR platform ARCore), modular mobile phone project Ara (which died before it came out), and so on. ATAP even developed a smart jacket in collaboration with the clothing brand Levi's (the project still exists today).

After joining Building 8, Dugan, as the landlord in the past, put forward the concept of futurism, such as "hearing voice through skin", "brain-controlled prosthetic limbs", "mind-typing" and other technical ideas. In addition, Dugan was the leader of Portal, a video chat device.

Unfortunately, Dugan did not experience the release of Portal or the launch of Facebook. She left Facebook in October 2017 and was replaced by Rafa Camargo, former head of Building 8 and now vice president of the Portal team.

Portal a year later

Camargo's biggest move since taking office should be to promote Portal's appearance in October this year.

Portal is a device that focuses on video chat and supports voice activation. Its biggest selling point is that users can walk around the room at will during the video process, Portal will automatically adjust the orientation of the screen and camera according to the position of the person, and fully reduce noise and improve the clarity of the call in the remote speaking environment.

However, the introduction of Portal has not aroused widespread recognition among consumers. Lei Feng learned that, to a certain extent, the battle for smart speakers had begun a year before its launch. Compared with smart speakers with screens such as Amazon Echo Show, the selling point that the screen can be adjusted to track the target in real time obviously can not make up for the one-year delay in submitting the answer sheet.

Building 8, on the other hand, shouts for cutting-edge technology concepts, but rarely produces actual landing results, and the industry does not buy its thunderous and rainy practices.

Summary of Lei Feng Net: Now, the various projects under study in Building 8 have a more precise ownership according to the landing stage. Whether the new structure to be developed can break through the shackles of the past remains to be seen.

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