Facebook developing video chat device with touchscreen – CNET

Girl on video call with her mother

Facebook wants to get more involved in video chatting.

Tim Robberts/Getty Images

Facebook is about to get even more social.

The social media site is apparently working on a device specifically for video chatting, according to Bloomberg. Citing “people familiar with the matter,” the product will be a 13- or 15-inch touchscreen with a wide-angle camera, microphones. It will also have some artificial intelligence technology baked in, so the cameras can automatically move around and scan for people and objects and zoom into them if need be.

Facebook has expressed its desire to jump into the hardware industry. Aside from this touchscreen, it is rumored to be working on a smart speaker that rivals the Amazon Echo and Google Home. Facebook also has a virtual reality headset that it acquired from Occulus in 2014, and in 2013 it launched the HTC First (aka “The Facebook Phone”), which failed to take off.

This touchscreen device is being developed under Facebook’s skunkworks arm, known as Building 8, which researches and developers experimental projects under a two-year deadline. Other projects include one that would let users “hear” language through their skin. Another is developing a system that allows one to “type” 100 words per minute just by thinking of the words.

Facebook didn’t immediately reply for a request to comment.

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