Facebook has killed its Building 8 skunkworks laboratory after a significant reorganization of experimental projects and hardware devices.
The super-secretive organization was inspired by the Armed Forces for advanced research project and considered itself a unit dedicated to building "new, defined products for consumer products". In its buzzy heyday, it worked with incredible projects like brain-scanning tech and skin sensors. It was a moonshot factory, in other words, in the same vein as Google X.
But things have now been changed. Some of its most experimental projects have been shunted over to a new division, Facebook Reality Labs, and the hardware segment has been rebranded as Portal after the launch of Facebook's home video chat device.
The brand 8, meanwhile, has clearly been killed completely, a spokesman for Business Insider said.
CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced Building 8 in 201
"I'm pleased to announce that we have started a new group on Facebook, called Building 8, focused on building new hardware products to promote our mission of connecting the world," wrote Zuckerberg in a post when it was launched .
"We will invest hundreds of people and hundreds of millions of dollars in this effort over the next few years. I'm excited to see breakthroughs on our 10th roadmap in expanded and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity and other important areas. "
In October, these ambitions were finally renewed with the launch of Portal, a touch screen video chat device that allows users to call their friends and consume media using Facebook's software.
With the launch, building 8's leaders and hardware-focused teams were transferred to a newly created portal team – and Building 8 was shuttered, a previously unreported development.
Rafa Camargo, which was created for building 8 when Dugan left, was appointed VP of Portal when it was officially launched. Product Manager Itai Vonshak, Director of Marketing Nick Fell, and the leader of the device software Viresh Rustagi also did all the shifts.
Goodbye Building 8, Hello Portal
Some employees still advertise on LinkedIn who work for Building 8, and there are still some job openings for posts on Building 8 – but this is because they have not been updated yet, said one spokesman.
Other signs of device news abound. Building 8's official Career Page on Facebook's website has been killed – but Portal's jobpage uses all its old photos.
Other unannounced hardware projects developed by Facebook now live under the Portal organization – except virtual or enhanced reality efforts that would be part of Oculus, the company's AR / VR device.
Building Building 8 is the more experimental effort spun into another new group: Facebook Reality Labs.
Facebook Reality Labs was formed in May, before the launch of Portal, but at that time it was seen as a rebranded Oculus Labs (Facebook's previous AR / VR research effort). It now has a tent stick. Build 8 projects like the brain computer interface, which tries to build computers that can be reported with human minds. It is led by Michael Abrash, a gaming industry veteran and legendary programmer.
The Haptics team, working with technology to help people to "hear" through their skin, has also been transferred, according to their members LinkedIn profiles and health projects that once were part of building 8 have also been moved out .
Some of Facebook's other experimental surveys, such as the work of biologically inspired "soft robotics", are also part of Facebook Reality Labs.
Facebook says it is still working on many of the same projects, albeit with a different structure. In an email, Facebook spokeswoman Lisa Auslen said: "Building 8 was the early name of team-based consumer hardware on Facebook. Building 8 is part of Facebook's AR / VR organization." As we send, it's the Portal team. "Rafa Camargo Leadership Still Leadership, It Has Not Changed. "
" We have also united research that looks at longer-term projects under one team, which became Facebook Reality Labs, which is also part of our AR / VR organization. research projects such as Brain Computer Interface. " She said that the restructuring did not result in terminations.
Zuckerberg's vision can still be in place – but the transformation means that it plays in a completely different way.
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