Meta accelerates NPI by saving over 900 engineering weeks across 7 programs annually


Virtual reality and augmented reality are the next frontier for Meta, the world’s largest social technology company. That’s why Meta created Reality Labs, a team composed of skilled engineers and designers focused on making this ambitious vision a reality.

Steve McClure, Senior Director of Hardware Engineering, Reality Labs, Meta, is responsible for developing augmented reality technology. Steve knows that for Meta to excel in the competitive hardware industry, he must launch high-quality hardware technology on time. Faced with an aggressive roadmap, Steve saw an opportunity to amplify the performance of his team and accelerate new product delivery, saving Meta millions of dollars per year.


Steve’s team had ambitious goals and an even more ambitious timeline, which created several challenges:

  • Complex hardware portfolio with 7 NPIs (New Product Introductions) / year
  • Risky, first-of-its-kind technology
  • Aggressive schedules with limited engineering resources
  • Remote manufacturing partners will slow down iteration cycles

Instrumental saved us 900+ engineering weeks, a core metric for Meta, unlocking capacity across our hardware and software teams.



Steve’s team needed a solution that eliminated guesswork by identifying and prioritizing challenges and providing possible root causes. That’s when they came across Instrumental, a manufacturing AI and data platform that aggregates manufacturing data and uses AI to accelerate NPI by finding novel defects and speeding up failure analysis. His team used Instrumental to:

Oversee seven programs with 60+ imaging stations 

Instrumental stations capture images and videos of the hardware at key assembly steps to create a complete traceable record for each unit. 

Proactively discover novel defects using AI

Instrumental’s Discover AI proactively finds anomalies and issues in the hardware images – enabling engineers to spend their time solving challenges instead of searching for them.

Improve engineering efficiency with AI tools 

When a defect is found, the team uses visual search and AI-enabled measurements to reach the root cause faster. 

Meta uses Instrumental across a number of its different Reality Lab programs, including Ray-Ban Meta smart glasses and other augmented reality technologies. Instrumental is now an integral part of workflow across its PD (Product Design), DFX (Design for Excellence), Quality, SIE (Systems Industrial Engineering), and Battery teams.

In the absence of [Instrumental], I don’t learn about issues until a test fails. Now, I can get a much earlier jump on that. That is the biggest value.”



Instrumental technology helped Steve and his team deliver high-quality hardware on an aggressive schedule by augmenting his team’s daily workflows. Instrumental saved engineering time by surfacing unknown defects and accelerating failure analysis. This avoided the need for additional DOE’s (Design of Experiments) and test units to determine the root cause. The Meta team describes Instrumental as indispensable – with a strong business impact to prove it.

By the numbers for one year:

  • 186 users
  • 900+ engineering weeks saved
  • 6X return on investment 

Instrumental increases the whole quality bar and efficiency, allowing our engineers to move faster. Ultimately, that means we can make better quality products, more products, and make products that people love.“