How a team of hundreds built Nvidia's Project Shield in less than a year

When Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang unveiled the Android-powered portal gaming device Project Shield at CES 2013, it was the culmination of months of work and hundreds of employees operating under the CEO's vision, according to a detailed account of the process published on Nvidia's blog.

Huang's overarching idea was to define what could be done and build a product within the constraints that Nvidia identified.

"We couldn't prove that it couldn't be done," said Tony Tamasi, Nvidia's senior vice president of content and strategy. "So we decided it could be."

Nvidia created the device behind an unmarked door where employees who surrendered their cell phones at a security checkpoint saw "a team of engineers clad in blue lab coats huddled over work benches and peering through magnifying lamps." Andrew Bell, a senior engineer, led the team.

The company's initial focus was to build a controller, which the post describes as its "most essential component." Project Shield's first prototype was "little more than a game controller fastened to a smartphone with wood," but by Dec. 18, 2012 the team presented the first two full-featured prototypes to the CEO.

The final push took place over Christmas break, when the Project Shield team assembled the devices they'd bring to CES at a manufacturer in Silicon Valley. You can learn more about Project Shield and see it in action in our our hands-on preview from CES.

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