• Facebook Water Jet

Facebook Water Jet (Photo : Twitter)

Facebook's new hardware lab in Building 17 of its San Francisco Bay Area headquarters was showed off to news journalists on August 2, Tuesday .The 22,000 square-foot (2,043 square-meter) facility is where the world's largest social network is working on Oculus Rift prototypes, 360-degree cameras, and Wi-Fi-beaming drones. It is also developing other new hardware  including a multi-cut milling machine and stone-cutting water jet.

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The research lab is named Area 404. It refers to the "not found" error message on a display screen when something cannot be located on the Internet. Facebook's research and development (R&D) products in the hardware lab also cannot be seen by the general public.

The social giant started constructing the facility nine months ago. Its facility includes an electrical engineering lab and prototype workshop, according to CNET.  

Facebook wanted to show that it is working on a cornucopia of projects. Its developers are not just writing source code for News Feed updates and targeted mobile ads.   

The hardware lab includes a 5-axis milling machine with a long arm that zig-zags at a metal ball on a moving platform. It cuts an object from many different directions.

There is also a metal pool about the size of a hot tub. It contains a water jet that can cut several objects such as steel and stone.

Facebook engineers also build prototypes for the Oculus Rift VR headset at the research facility. The $600 VR gadget went on sale in March after Facebook bought Oculus for $2 billion in 2014.

Mark Zuckerberg's company is also using the R&D lab to construct the casing of its 360-degree camera Surround 360. The $30,000 VR camera includes several cameras for making  360-degree videos.

In another section of Area 404 Facebook is working on drone technology to beam Wi-Fi Internet to remote areas. In June the company completed the first test flight of its solar-powered drone Aquila.   

The lab is also home to Facebook's top-secret Building 8 for experimental hardware. In May Facebook hired Regina Dugan who was the former head of the United States government's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  

In related news, Facebook's social network Instagram recently added a new tool called Stories. It is very similar to Snapchat Stories that lets users create a collection of photos and videos they can share with friends.

In the past Facebook has added other Snapchat-like features to its products. They include disappearing posts, face filters, and photo-editing features, according to CNN. It even tried to buy the company for $3 billion in 2013.