Facebook has acquired Nascent Objects, the hardware development firm that aimed to make it easier for developers to go from concept to product in a matter of weeks. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Nascent Objects revealed that it will be a part of Facebook’s Building 8 program, the DARPA-like lab set up in April.
“We’re excited to build products that can open the world to everyone and create on a scale we couldn’t have imagined before,” wrote Baback Elmieh, Nascent Objects’ chief executive, in a blog post. “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.”
Founded in 2014, Nascent Objects has a platform consisting of dozens of electronic modules such as sensors, camera, mini-computers, and more that can easily be assembled in a 3D-printed bracket. Wired has described the company as doing the same thing that Google’s Project Ara did to develop modular smartphones, an effort that shut down earlier this month.
Joining up with Facebook may not seem like something that makes sense. After all, the social network isn’t exactly known for its hardware. But the fact that it’s part of Building 8 shows that Facebook may be working on new developer tools, perhaps around Oculus Rift, its Open Compute Project, or the effort to bring the internet to more people, such as by improving Aquila. Building 8 also happens to be the department that is overseen by Regina Dugan, the former director of DARPA that Facebook hired away from Google.
Of course, Nascent Objects could also be useful for internal development, especially when it comes to prototyping and testing. Facebook recently unveiled Area 404, a collaborative space for engineers from different teams to work and accelerate progress on projects being worked on.
Nascent Objects raised an undisclosed amount of funding from investors Orestone Capital and Co-Creation Capital.