"Extreme" adaptive optics systems are optimized for ultra-high contrast applications, such as ground-based extrasolar planet detection. The Extreme Adaptive Optics Testbed at UC Santa Cruz is being used to investigate and develop technologies for high-contrast imaging, especially wavefront control. We use a simple optical design to minimize wavefront error and maximize the experimentally achievable contrast. A phase shifting diffraction interferometer (PSDI) measures wavefront errors with sub-nm precision and accuracy for metrology and wavefront control. Previously, we have demonstrated RMS wavefront errors of <1.5 nm and a contrast of >107 over a substantial region using a shaped pupil without a deformable mirror. Current work includes the installation and characterization of a 1024-actuator Micro-Electro-Mechanical-Systems (MEMS) deformable mirror, manufactured by Boston Micro-Machines for active wavefront control. Using the PSDI as the wavefront sensor we have flattened the deformable mirror to <1 nm within the controllable spatial frequencies and measured a contrast in the far field of >106. Consistent flattening required testing and characterization of the individual actuator response, including the effects of dead and low-response actuators. Stability and repeatability of the MEMS devices was also tested. Ultimately this testbed will be used to test all aspects of the system architecture for an extrasolar planet-finding AO system.© (2005) COPYRIGHT SPIE--The International Society for Optical Engineering. Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.