Facebook’s Building 8 Head To Leave The Company

Nick Alexander-Walker October 18, 2017
Facebook’s Building 8 Head To Leave The Company

The head of Facebook Inc.’s secretive and new consumer-hardware lab, Building 8, is leaving the company after just 18 months.

The social networking giant’s secretive Building 8 lab, Regina Dugan, has left the company to lead a new project, she said in a Facebook post, raising questions about the company's plans for ambitious initiatives like brain-reading technology and augmented-reality glasses.

Dugan said in a Facebook post on Tuesday that she was leaving to "focus on building and leading a new endeavor," though she didn't specify further.

Dugan, who Facebook hired from Alphabet Inc.’s Google, was at the company for about 18 months, helping push projects from a video chat device in a way to type from brain waves. She said Tuesday that she will work with Facebook’s leadership over the next few months to guarantee a smooth transition.

“There is a tidal shift going on in Silicon Valley, and those of us in this industry have greater responsibilities than ever before,” Dugan said. “The timing feels right to step away and be purposeful about what’s next, thoughtful about new ways to contribute in times of disruption.”

Facebook started the lab last year, with Dugan’s hiring, to focus on hardware inventions, particularly in the area of artificial intelligence. The company faces new competitive threats, especially from Amazon.com Inc. and its Echo home speaker powered by the Alexa voice-activated digital assistant.

The move was celebrated at the time as a major coup for Facebook and a sign that the social network was getting serious about building hardware that would compete with Google, Amazon, and Apple.

Building 8 has yet to release a product, but the division is working on an unannounced video-chat device for the home code-named "Aloha" and expected to be released in May.

Building 8 has also teased more-futuristic work on brain-scanning technology that would allow people to type with their thoughts.

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Nick Alexander-Walker


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