I took a trip to Seattle a little while ago. Actually a long while ago. And I shot a bunch of video of cool stuff. Then it got lost, because I am a terrible person. But I found them, so here they are.
It's kind of striking just how much this room looks like every other workshop I've ever set foot into. Plain, unassuming. Exposed concrete and wood. Power tools. Work tables. Dust. But this is where Microsoft builds, prototypes and quality controls Xboxes, along with basically every Microsoft-made accessory that connects to them. For example, the new controllers they were torturing testing that day in July, jabbing each button literally thousands of times. The machine is hypnotic. I couldn't stop staring at it.
The first guy in the video is Bob, who is essentially in charge of quality control for Xbox. I forget his last name, but I remember liking him immensely, not least of which because of the earring, which I thought really worked for him, like a cool dad. That room, the quality control room, is off to the right after you walk into the lab. If you turn left, though, you'll find yourself in a room with a handful of 3D printers that Microsoft uses to prototype designs, like for the Kinect, chewing through about $150,000 worth of resin a year.