Facebook resets its experimental hardware effort and gives its moonshot projects a home in its AR / VR research department. The restructuring, reported by the Business Insider (paywalled), did not result in any redundancies, but did see some change of layers as the old Building 8 group rebranded into Portal, and some projects moved to the former Oculus Research group (now, Facebook Reality Lab).
A Facebook spokesman confirmed the reorganization of Business Insider. TechCrunch has reached Facebook for further comment.
The building brand 8 is dead, but the big change seems to be Facebook
With some of the more experimental hardware projects on Facebook – as a brain interface for computers , "soft" robot technology and a project to "hear" through a skin-worn device – moving to Facebook Reality Labs, it's clear that the organization once centered around AR / VR technologies sees its scope expand to more remote technologies that are not is ready for consumer products yet.
In the meanwhile, the Portal Group appears to be some of Facebook's more current hardware product living products, with the newly released video chat device that serves as a basis. The management of Building 8, Rafa Camargo, who took over after departure of Regina Dugan, is present for the portals community.
However, Facebook Reality Labs is still directed by Michael Abrash, who has long had an older presence in the company's AR / VR ambitions.
Having products like Portal already on sale fall under the same leadership as invasive brain-circle research, probably not having a lot of organizational sense, especially when Facebook has already gone beyond separate projects focused on immediate product needs compared to those that are more widespread in other areas of the company. Facebook's hardware ambitions are descending, but now that they have a product on shelves, it is probably more clear that there are some completely different management needs and organizational restructuring makes sense.