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Illustration by Laurent Bazart (@laurentbazart)

In Burlingame, California, a small city about 15 miles north of Facebook’s Silicon Valley headquarters, a monument to the social media giant’s future ambitions is taking shape. Construction is underway on a 770,000-square-foot new campus, with the capacity for about 4,000 employees, that will be devoted entirely to a burgeoning Facebook group making new hardware. 

Undeterred by past setbacks in the category—including a big investment in virtual reality, which still remains a niche product—Facebook is doubling down in hardware by building or acquiring many of the key ingredients necessary to run the devices it plans for the future, such as augmented reality glasses. It has teams devoted to making its own custom silicon chips, a voice assistant powered by artificial intelligence, and technology capable of deciphering human thoughts. 

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