Facebook has purchased Nascent Objects, a small startup based in the Bay Area which offers what is known as the first modular electronics platform in the world.
The platform is basically a software program that assists in expediting the process for building hardware, including 3D-printed creations. The system utilizes reconfigurable components, including sensors, cameras and batteries to build the gadgets, making it easier to design and create prototypes of new devices even for end users without expertise in manufacturing electronics.
Nascent Objects, through its platform, allows clients to create prototypes without the costs and efforts usually associated with traditional methods.
The big question, however, is what Facebook is looking to do with its acquisition of Nascent Objects?
Facebook is no longer all about the social network, as the company has branched out into hardware with projects such as the solar-powered Aquila drone that provides internet access and the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset.
The acquisition of Nascent Objects will likely allow Facebook to develop its hardware projects more efficiently. The startup will be joining Facebook's Building 8, which is the company's secretive facility for hardware development.
"Imagine designing, building and delivering a hardware product in just weeks. Instead of months, or even years," wrote Building 8 head Regina Dugan in a Facebook post, adding that the company is looking to create hardware at a speed similar to the development of software.
However, with the specialization of Nascent Objects on modular gadgets, it remains unclear if Facebook is looking to develop a device of the same nature. Google recently suspended Project Ara, which is the modular smartphone that the company was working on, and it would be interesting to see if Facebook would soon try its hand in developing a modular device in the near future.
The terms of the acquisition were not disclosed. However, Nascent Objects CEO and founder Baback Elmieh along with other key members of the company will be joining Facebook, according to a spokesperson for the company.
The purchase of Nascent Objects continues Facebook's investments in hardware manufacturing. Early last month, the company unveiled Area 404, which is a 22,000-square-foot laboratory at its Menlo Park headquarters in California.
The facility is equipped with machines that are typically found in manufacturing plants, with Facebook looking to use Area 404 for fast prototyping and modeling of new hardware projects. This would allow the company to drastically reduce the time needed for such processes, as previously, Facebook's hardware teams had to use third-party services for prototypes and models.