The Crazy Things Amazon Is Building In Its Secret Lab

Jeff Bezos Amazon CEO Portrait Illustration

Amazon is expected to unveil its first smartphone tomorrow, but that may be only one of several projects the company is building in its secretive Lab126.

Lab126 is the division of Amazon that works on the company’s hardware products, such as the Kindle Fire tablets, e-readers, and Fire TV.

The company, however, is said to be working on a bunch of offbeat products that expand way beyond its tablet line.

One group in Lab126, for example, is said to be working on a device that projects a computer image onto any surface, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Another group is reportedly developing a speaker that can respond to voice commands.

The company is also experimenting with a credit card reader similar to Square’s that could plug into your smartphone. A more believable product reportedly coming out of Lab126 is a superthin version of Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite e-reader believed to be code-named “Ice Wine.”

It’s unlikely that most of these products will ever make it to market, but it’s interesting to imagine the types of technology Amazon could be brainstorming in its labs.

The smartphone Amazon is expected to reveal Wednesday is an example of one device that made it out of the company’s labs. The handset, which is rumoured to feature 3-D imaging effects and may be able to track its user’s head, was initially code-named “Tyto” — after a genus of owl — while it was in development. The company also created a lower-cost version of the same phone without 3-D effects code-named “Otus” — after a different owl genus — but it’s unclear if we’ll see that phone this week.

We expect to learn more at Amazon’s press event in Seattle on Wednesday.

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.