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Facebook snags modular gadget startup Nascent Objects

Engadget Engadget 19/09/2016 David Lumb
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Google's Project Ara was highly anticipated by consumers excited to upgrade their modular devices over time, but that dream died when the tech giant pulled the plug on the endeavor three weeks ago. Seems like Facebook isn't done with mix-and-match gadgets: The social media titan just bought Nascent Objects, a Bay-area startup, to bring its modular electronics approach into its growing hardware R&D world.

Nascent Objects' platform is a system for consumers to build and design their own gadgets. But it also aims to help users design and prototype products with far less fuss or cost than traditional prototyping methods. In essence, as WIREDwrites, it's about reducing waste for the entire hardware lifecycle.

That fits the Facebook outfit that Nascent Labs is being placed in: Building 8. The DARPA-like projects facility was created earlier in the year, while the social giant lured prominent advanced projects lead Regina Dugan away from Google back in April to head it. Building 8 focuses on quickly prototyping new products, which will likely couple with Facebook's massive new 22,000-sq ft Menlo Park facility, Area 404, to produce new hardware. Shortly after news broke of the acquisition, Dugan posted this video on her Facebook page offering a peek into how Nascent works:


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