Last week we took a trip to Microsoft’s head office in Redmond, Washington, to check out the company’s Surface development facility.
We got an in-depth look at the Surface’s development process and a variety of Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book Prototypes, as well as a glimpse at some of the extensive testing that goes in to the creation of those devices. For instance, Microsoft claims to have the quietest room in the world, a facility where the Redmond-based tech giant tests the sound quality and sound effects featured in its Surface devices.
Below is a collection of some of my photos from the trip, ranging from an in-depth interview with Panos Panay (we’ll have a story next week), to a discussion with Steven Bathiche, Microsoft’s distinguished scientist of applied sciences, as well as a look at his mad scientist-like lab.
Outside Microsoft’s head office in Redmond, Washington.
The view from the outside of Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington head office.
Microsoft’s employee restaurant grows its own lettuce.
Microsoft corporate vice president of devices talks about the difficulties the company faced launching the first iteration of the Surface back in 2012.
One of the many 3D printers at Microsoft’s Surface headquarters.
Another 3D printer located in Microsoft’s engineering facility.
Pre-production demo Surface Book and Surface builds on a table in Microsoft’s Redmond, Washington headquarters.
More work went into the creation of the Surface Book’s hinge than some likely realize.
Microsoft’s Rachael Bell talks about designing the Surface Pro’s Signature Type Cover (which is made of Alcantara).
A look inside the Surface Book’s keyboard.
The hallways at Microsoft’s head office in Redmond, Washington feature panelled walls, allowing them to easily be removed when scuffs, dents or scratches occur.
A demo showing off Microsoft’s experimental touch-less interaction technology.
Microsoft’s distinguished scientist of applied sciences Steven Bathiche talks about testing the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4’s display technology.
A quick look at the Windows Hello’s early development.
Microsoft set up a variety of tech demos for journalists to test out during its office tour.
More demos featuring early iterations of the Surface.
Gopal Gopal. Microsoft’s principal human factors engineer, talks about the company’s soundproof chamber.
A look at the ceiling of what Microsoft says is the quietest room in the world.
The small, concrete room’s baffling is covered in a chicken wire-like material. Its springy floor is also constructed of the same wire mesh that is used to stop fighter jets on aircraft carriers.
A look down at the sound testing rooms mesmerizing floor.
Another look at the sound proof room’s baffling.
Microsoft says that all of its products, especially those actually worn on a human’s body, go through extensive testing.
Various Band and Band 2 iterations and demo units.
See that Xbox One controller pre-production unit on the left? Is that the “duke” original Xbox controller recreated? We’ll likely never know.
John Morris, Microsoft’s senior human factors engineer talks about how the company tests products in various ambient lighting conditions.
Want to map your own heads ergonomics for HoloLen’s fit testing? That’s actually possible at Microsoft’s testing lab.
Early Surface Book magnesium body cut outs.
Michael Gough, Microsoft’s chief design officer for the company’s applications and services group, discusses where he thinks Windows 10 Mobile’s user interface design is headed. Gough spent 10 years as the vice president of design at Adobe.
Testing our Surface Band ergonomics.