Microsoft are continually aiming to improve the Xbox LIVE experience, and the latest part of this aim is the optional testing program called Xbox LIVE Labs that is available exclusively in the US. Willing participants will be rewarded with up to three 0G achievements and three avatar awards: a lab coat, brain helmet, and crazy mad scientist hair.
Interested? Well, the program can be downloaded from the Xbox LIVE Labs tab in the My Community section of the dashboard. After a small download, participants have to agree to the disclaimer before the program automatically begins. all you have to do then is leave your Xbox running. Unfortunately, you will not be able to play any games, watch movies or download items in the background while this is running. You may also find that your internet connection is slower than normal.
Major Nelson explains the purpose of the program:
Xbox LIVE Labs performs a number of network tests from your console to Xbox LIVE. These results are recorded solely for the purpose of testing and improving the service. Although we want your support, participating in Xbox LIVE Labs is entirely optional and voluntary. These results are recorded solely for the purpose of testing and improving the service and will not be used to identify you.Xbox LIVE Labs will run from March 10th until March 27th, and is open to both Gold and Free LIVE members in the US only. Major Nelson has stated that "after this round of testing, we’ll evaluate when and how we’ll roll this out to other Xbox LIVE regions."
Just as a word of warning to those international members amongst you who have a US account as well as your main account: you can download this program, but will not be able to use the program on any other account but a US account. The program can only be activated from the window in the My Community section of the US dashboard; it does not appear in your game library, and is truly is exclusive to the US.
Thanks to the many community members who sent in the suggestions for this.
We've got the full list of Xbox LIVE Labs achievements - check the list for guides to unlocking them.