Tech PHOTOS: Inside Amazon's Cambridge research lab — where there's a wall made out of Echoes (AMZN)

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The Seattle-headquartered company said researchers in the office will work on its delivery drones and its AI assistant, Alexa.

Amazon's new Cambridge office. play

Amazon's new Cambridge office.

(Amazon)
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Amazon has opened a new research facility in the British university city of Cambridge with a wall made almost entirely out of Amazon Echo devices.

The new "development centre" will be home to about 400 engineers who will work on Amazon's Alexa assistant and drone innovation.

Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager, in a statement: "The exciting and innovative new products and services developed here will benefit millions of customers around the world, complementing the work that goes on in our other development centres in London and Edinburgh."

He added: "I hope this new building will contribute towards our global innovation story with voice recognition, streaming video, machine learning and drone technology all being developed right here in the UK."

Amazon is intending to hire 5,000 people in the UK in 2017, which would bring its workforce up to 24,000 people.

The office is well lit and full of quirky furniture and art.

The office is well lit and full of quirky furniture and art. play

The office is well lit and full of quirky furniture and art.

(Amazon)


Staff in the office will work on Amazon devices like the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera. They'll also work on Amazon Alexa, which is the brain that sits inside a number of Amazon devices.

Staff in the office will work on Amazon devices like the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera. They'll also work on Amazon Alexa, which is the brain that sits inside a number of Amazon devices. play

Staff in the office will work on Amazon devices like the Amazon Echo and the Amazon Cloud Cam indoor security camera. They'll also work on Amazon Alexa, which is the brain that sits inside a number of Amazon devices.

(Amazon)

The office lacks some of the weird and playful additions that can be found in other tech company offices. Google, for example, has a slide at its headquarters in Mountain View, California.

"We want the serendipitous, come-and-have-a-cup-of-coffee-for-a-chat environment, so we have open staircases between floors," Gurr told The Guardian. "But we'll tend to focus on things that generate hard work and innovation rather than stuff that might be perceived as a bit more gimmicky."



And they'll work on Prime Air, which is Amazon's ambitious drone delivery project.

And they'll work on Prime Air, which is Amazon's ambitious drone delivery project. play

And they'll work on Prime Air, which is Amazon's ambitious drone delivery project.

(Amazon)


One of the walls in the new Amazon building has a significant number of Echo devices mounted into it.

One of the walls in the new Amazon building has a significant number of Echo devices mounted into it. play

One of the walls in the new Amazon building has a significant number of Echo devices mounted into it.

(Amazon)

The Amazon Echo is a smart speaker that has an AI assistant called Alexa embedded into it.



Here it is from a different angle. It looks as though these are the original Amazon Echo devices, which Amazon sells for £149 each.

Here it is from a different angle. It looks as though these are the original Amazon Echo devices, which Amazon sells for £149 each. play

Here it is from a different angle. It looks as though these are the original Amazon Echo devices, which Amazon sells for £149 each.

(Amazon)


The three-storey office is located next to Cambridge train station. It's a short walk from an Apple research facility that's home to a number of engineers working on Siri — Apple's rival AI assistant.

The three-storey office is located next to Cambridge train station. It's a short walk from an Apple research facility that's home to a number of engineers working on Siri — Apple's rival AI assistant. play

The three-storey office is located next to Cambridge train station. It's a short walk from an Apple research facility that's home to a number of engineers working on Siri — Apple's rival AI assistant.

(Amazon)


The office is scattered with art including this glowing "hello" sign.

The office is scattered with art including this glowing "hello" sign. play

The office is scattered with art including this glowing "hello" sign.

(Amazon)


Here is some more Amazon-inspired art.

Here is some more Amazon-inspired art. play

Here is some more Amazon-inspired art.

(Amazon)


This vegetated wall can be found in one of the main reception areas.

This vegetated wall can be found in one of the main reception areas. play

This vegetated wall can be found in one of the main reception areas.

(Amazon)


As can this coat of arms.

As can this coat of arms. play

As can this coat of arms.

(Amazon)


Amazon said the office will be home to machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modellers, speech scientists, and software engineers.

Amazon said the office will be home to machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modellers, speech scientists, and software engineers. play

Amazon said the office will be home to machine learning scientists, knowledge engineers, data scientists, mathematical modellers, speech scientists, and software engineers.

(Amazon)


They'll get to use comfy chairs and sofas when they've had enough of their desk.

They'll get to use comfy chairs and sofas when they've had enough of their desk. play

They'll get to use comfy chairs and sofas when they've had enough of their desk.

(Amazon)


The new building is part of Amazon's £6.4 billion investment into the UK since 2010.

The new building is part of Amazon's £6.4 billion investment into the UK since 2010. play

The new building is part of Amazon's £6.4 billion investment into the UK since 2010.

(Amazon)


Amazon it will have 1,500 staff in "high-tech" roles across its UK development centres by the end of 2017.

Amazon it will have 1,500 staff in "high-tech" roles across its UK development centres by the end of 2017. play

Amazon it will have 1,500 staff in "high-tech" roles across its UK development centres by the end of 2017.

(Amazon)


This is not the first office that Amazon has opened in Cambridge.

The Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge University play

The Great Court, Trinity College, Cambridge University

(Wikipedia / CC 3.0)

"Cambridge has been a centre of academic and intellectual excellence for over 500 years so we are delighted to open our second site in the city," said Doug Gurr, Amazon's UK country manager.



Amazon also has an office in the Castle Park business estate.

Amazon also has an office in the Castle Park business estate. play

Amazon also has an office in the Castle Park business estate.

(Sam Shead/Business Insider UK)

The company is located in the Evi Technologies building. Evi Technologies is a voice search startup that Amazon acquired in 2012 for what was reported to be around $26 million.



Here's Amazon's Castle Park office.

Here's Amazon's Castle Park office. play

Here's Amazon's Castle Park office.

(Sam Shead/Business Insider UK)


The company also has a secret drone test site on a farm just outside Cambridge.

The company also has a secret drone test site on a farm just outside Cambridge. play

The company also has a secret drone test site on a farm just outside Cambridge.

(Google Maps/Skitch)


This is what it looks like.

This is what it looks like. play

This is what it looks like.

(YouTube/Amazon)