We had a chance to take a tour of Nokia's research and development facility in San Diego this week -- and while we're afraid to say we didn't see any Maemo 6-powered devices or Symbian^4 emulators lying around, we did see some pretty cool stuff, particularly in the product testing laboratories where engineering samples and final products are put through pure hell. The idea is to simulate years' worth of real-life product use in just a few days -- individual tests last anywhere from a few hours to three weeks or longer -- by pressing buttons, sliding sliders, actuating hinges, heating, cooling, wetting, drying, dropping, whacking, shaking, rubbing, bending, and generally defacing the phones in every way imaginable. Once a phone finally breaks, they look for obvious reasons -- cracked plastic, broken springs, and the like -- but if that initial analysis fails, they've got a well-equipped lab on site complete with a scanning electron microscope and CT scanner for taking microscopic looks at failed components in both two and three dimensions; from here, they can find broken connections on chips, incorrectly-fabricated materials, and the occasional ant eye magnified a couple thousand times (it's posted on the wall in the lab, and yes, it's scary). Follow the break for a cheerful montage of a few Nokia phones getting mercilessly beaten beyond recognition.

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Video: Nokia's product testing labs in 3 minutes, 42 seconds