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Facebook Turns to 3-D Printing Technology

While reigning as the premiere social media site might be enough for some companies, Facebook has never been content to rest on its laurels. And now it looks like the innovative social networking company is poised to get into the hardware industry.

Facebook recently acquired Nascent Objects, a startup that specializes in 3-D printing of modular electronics. Nascent Objects has made a name for itself by demonstrating a remarkable ability for supplying rapid prototyping services for companies. This allows businesses to test out their products before mass-producing them for the public.

And that’s not the only interesting development over at Facebook. The company recently hired Rich Heley, formerly the vice president of technology at Tesla. Heley has been tapped to work on Facebook’s Building 8, the department devoted to researching and developing new hardware technology.

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Despite these high-profile moves, Facebook has been quiet about where the company is heading. Although Facebook doesn’t possess the greatest track record when it comes to hardware (anyone else remember the Facebook phone?), that hasn’t stopped the social media giant from exploring new technologies and business avenues.

The acquisition of both Heley and Nascent Objects indicates that Facebook is continuing to expand beyond the realm of social media. The social media site has made great strides with Oculus, its virtual-reality lab, and it looks like the company is prepared to travel even further into the mixed-reality realms.

“We’re excited to build products that can open the world to everyone and create on a scale what we couldn’t have imagined before. People have become used to the idea that, with software, you can have whatever you want, whenever you want it. We want to make this happen with hardware—and we think Facebook is the best place to make this a reality.”

Baback Almieh, CEO of Nascent Objects

It’s clear that Facebook is looking to expand its already impressive empire into the world of hardware and mixed-reality. Facebook stands at the forefront of a growing movement to create a mixed-reality with hardware and digital components the likes of which we’ve never seen. We can’t be sure what Facebook has in mind, but we’re excited to see what it comes up with next.

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