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The Making of the VAIO X Series: Part 5 and 6

by Team Sony 11/20/2009

This week we wrap up the Making of the X Series with our last two installments.

Throughout this series I’ve introduced you to some of Sony’s best engineers and designers.  They’ve taken you behind-the-scenes to offer you a unique glimpse into the many challenges their teams had to overcome to make the X Series possible.  And today you’ll uncover two new stories.  One takes a look at arguably the most important component of a notebook.  Any guesses?  The other story follows an inconspicuous engineering team to discover why they were so intent on destroying as many X Series models as they could.  And interestingly, they still work for Sony.

First, let’s meet Kataoka Tatsu, Lead Battery Engineer on the X Series project.  As you can imagine, the battery is arguably one of the most important components of a notebook – without it, all you have is a desktop.  Tatsu-san’s team was tasked with what seemed like an impossible goal – engineering a standard capacity battery to be less 0.5 inches thin and weigh less than 1 pound.   And most importantly, all of this had to be done without sacrificing battery life.  Remember too that batteries are often the heaviest component of any notebook – which only added to the number of obstacles on this project.

What makes Tatsu-san’s story even more interesting though is that with the production deadline looming over their heads, his team wrapped up the battery project with little time to spare and just as headquarters came to them and requested an additional large capacity battery be developed.  This was a huge surprise for the team to say the least and they would have to start from scratch.  This time however the development window was much smaller.  Was Tatsu-san’s team up for the challenge?  Check out the battery they developed and discover the amazing detail that went into it in the video below.

Lastly, I’d like you to meet Kasai Takafumi who’s goal was to destroy as many notebooks as possible.  What was behind his motivation?  It wasn’t stress or anger but rather something very important.  Kasai Takafumi’s job as Lead QA Engineer is to put all VAIO notebooks to the test.  It’s his team’s job to design unique test that measure the limits of VAIO construction, design and engineering to ensure that each chassis meets the high standards of Sony quality.

With its incredibly thin profile, his tests were especially important for the X Series.  Although it has a stunning design, it was important to ensure the uniquely thin-and-light X Series could withstand the rigors of the road.  Twisting, hitting, smashing, heating and dropping were all critical to finding where the weak spots in construction were so that adjustments could be made.  Learn all about the story and the unique tests that were performed from Takafumi-san himself in the video below.

Want to discover more?  Uncover answers to questions not covered in these interviews?  Post your questions below and I’ll hunt down the answers for you.
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