Microsoft wants to enlist your help in testing the Xbox Live network, rewarding volunteers willing to donate up to six hours of Xbox 360 time with crazy mad scientist goodies once the testing's done. Here's how to participate.

Xbox Live Labs is really a brilliant idea. Microsoft needs to test its network, so why not recruit a portion of its gigantic U.S. user base to get the job done? The program runs from March 10 through March 27 in the United States, after which Microsoft will consider rolling it out to other regions.

To participate, simply scroll to your Xbox 360's community section and download the tiny Xbox Live Labs app from the ad there. Once downloaded and installed, you just turn it on and leave it running.

The app does warn that it will be eating massive amounts of bandwidth while running, so make sure you aren't anywhere near your cap, should your stupid internet provider have one (Hi, Comcast!).

The three levels of testing - 30 minutes, one hour, and six hours - are each associated with zero point achievements that will score testers three Xbox 360 avatar items: A lab coat, a brain helmet, and crazy mad scientist hair.

Seems like a fair deal to me. I do have some spare bandwidth, and I do need a lab coat to go along with my Xbox avatar's monkey, so why not?

Xbox LIVE Labs [Major Nelson]