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Bose makes a jumping car?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by randy88k5, Nov 27, 2005.

  1. randy88k5

    randy88k5 1/2 ton status

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    http://msnbc.msn.com/id/10217088/

    [​IMG]

    Updated: 9:36 p.m. ET Nov. 26, 2005

    FRAMINGHAM, Mass. - In a cleared-out parking lot at Bose Corp.'s headquarters, a test driver guides a Lexus at 25 mph toward what would appear to be an unfriendly introduction to a two-by-six lying on its side, ankle-high.

    A childlike grin spreads across 76-year-old Amar Bose's face as the vehicle does something most can't: jump over the board, like a cat bounding over a fallen log.

    The sedan's experimental, Bose-designed suspension, driven by four electromagnetic motors, had quickly pulled each wheel up, then down.

    It's a stunt, triggered when the car passed over a reflective strip that activated a sensor linked to the suspension. But the feat hints at the more practical capabilities of a suspension system that is Amar Bose's answer to a longtime engineering challenge: giving a car good cornering capabilities without sacrificing a smooth ride.

    For five decades, Bose has puzzled over why potholes seem harder to conquer than Mount Everest. He started tackling the challenge in secret in 1980, even as the privately held company he founded kept churning out the high-end speakers and stereo equipment that have made the Bose name famous among audiophiles.

    "This by far consumes most of my time," Bose said in an interview at Bose headquarters, where he remains chairman and technical director at an age when many have long since retired. "For all these years, it's been rare that I didn't work on it at some point every day."

    Unlike spring-and-shock absorber systems, Bose's suspension uses high-voltage electrical coils and magnets to counter bumps in the road and prevent roll around corners.

    Will people pay for it?
    The approach is drawing praise as a revolutionary way to ensure a smooth ride, but doubts center on its cost as rivals push their own suspension improvements that are less radical, but more affordable. Bose's system could add $5,000 or so to a car's cost, along with a few hundred pounds.

    "Technically, on paper, I think it's brilliant," said Aly Badawy, a vice president at Livonia, Mich.-based auto parts maker TRW Automotive Holdings Corp., which is developing its own high-end suspension system expected to be ready years before Bose's. "The problem is, is it going to be affordable?"

    Bose says his suspension's technical advantages will win over high-end car buyers.

    "If you ride over those roll bumps," he said, pointing to obstacles set up for the demonstration, "after just 50 feet you know you've been in a vehicle that has comfort like nothing else."

    By year's end, Bose hopes to select a single automaker from a handful of companies interested in making the suspension commercially available in five to six years. He wouldn't identify the companies.

    "Initially, you cannot try to go in many directions at the same time, or you won't have a good product," Bose said.

    The system will be incorporated into a yet-to-be-designed luxury car as standard equipment. The system may eventually find its way into mid-range cars, but it likely will never cost low enough for inexpensive vehicles, Bose says.

    He won't disclose the effort's cost to the $1.7 billion-a-year, 8,000-employee company, which he has led into years-long research ventures in fields as diverse as nuclear submarine technology and cold fusion, with varying success.

    "There are a lot of projects that we've done that weren't known to the public," Bose says.

    Automobile suspensions are outside the company's main expertise, and winning over colleagues wasn't easy.

    "Even our financial people were trying to get the engineers to discourage me, because they all saw money going into it," said Bose, a lifelong tinkerer who began repairing radios as a teenager growing up in Philadelphia. "But some things you just believe in."

    Neal Lackritz, one of only 100 Bose employees who knew of the project's existence before it was announced last year, said the effort would have been impossible at a company facing short-term profit pressures.

    "Dr. Bose would have been fired many times over it if were a publicly held company," Lackritz said.

    The innovations all happen in Framingham, about 20 miles west of Boston, atop a hilltop the company calls "The Mountain." A road just off the Massachusetts Turnpike circles upward to the company's glass-and-steel headquarters, where Bose speakers are abundant on office desktops.

    Many employees were drawn to the company because they're music buffs. Many also come from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where Bose studied and eventually taught, remaining a professor emeritus.

    These days, Bose spends most of his time working from his Wayland home or at headquarters, where a glass wall in his office is inscribed with a quotation from Albert Einstein on the importance of "widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

    Bose started his company using a $10,000 bank loan to pursue commercial and military applications for acoustics technologies he developed at MIT. His innovations in sound reproduction have resulted in smaller speakers along with headphones that cancel out low frequencies from outside noise such as jet engines.

    The design challenges for the auto-suspension system aren't entirely unfamiliar to Bose. Technologies he devised in the 1960s to amplify audio are also used to minimize fuel costs by regenerating energy flowing in and out of the electromagnetic motors that control the wheels' vertical motion.

    The challenge of improving suspension design has gnawed at Bose ever since he bought a new 1958 Pontiac Bonneville that boasted a unique air suspension system.

    It helped smooth the bumps in the young electrical engineering professor's commute to MIT, though he eventually found the system unreliable.

    A decade later, he bought a Citroen with an air-and-oil suspension that was even more unusual, but also somewhat impractical.

    Over the years, Bose concluded that the answer to the challenge lay in designing a so-called "active" suspension to do more than simply absorb bumps. Once he finally got around to pursuing it, Bose and his engineers spent five years just testing mathematical theories and running computer models.

    Eventually, they concluded that their dream would be within reach if they could make some breakthroughs in electromagnetics, power amplifiers and control algorithms. They worked on those challenges and bet successfully that the computer industry would accelerate computational speed to help the suspension rapidly respond to changing road conditions.

    Although Bose no longer puts in the 80-hour work weeks he once did, he insists he won't back away from doing whatever it takes to make the suspension system a commercial success.

    His colleagues don't doubt him.

    "He's got more energy than an 18-year-old," said Bose president Bob Maresca. "Every one of the naysayers only strengthens his resolve."
     
  2. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    I read an article in a magazine about this a couple weeks ago. It showed pic's of an older sedan cornering with stock suspension and with the Bose suspension. With the stock suspension the car leaned pretty bad, but with the Bose, it was still level in the corner. They say that his shocks will not just abosorb bumps, but they also adjust for potholes by pushing the tire into and back out of the hole while the passengers barely notice a difference in ride.

    Rick
     
  3. Inu-Hanyou1776

    Inu-Hanyou1776 1/2 ton status

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    I'm not sure if Mr. Bose should be pushing his company into diversifying so much like that. If he can get his company to spend tons of money on researching car suspension technology, surely instead he could push it to spending tons more on R&D for the company's already awesome sound equipment, and only focus on sound reproduction equipment.

    Heck if he did that, who knows? Bose just may be able then to answer that one question every guitarist at some point or another asks when it comes to guitar amps: "How do you get a solid-state amp to truly produce the same awesome tones that a vacuum-tube driven amp makes? And in general how do you get a transistor to truly do all the sweet things a vacuum tube can do when it comes to audio equipment?" Then guitarists like my brother could then get a real good amp that makes all the tone he could ever really need for A LOT less and be more durable.
     
  4. Corey 78K5

    Corey 78K5 1 ton status

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    I'll stick to a strait axel and a set of shocks thank you very much.
     
  5. rick88blaze

    rick88blaze 1/2 ton status

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    I will too for offroading, but it might be something to look into in a few years for a family cruiser. :D

    Rick
     
  6. muddybuddy

    muddybuddy 3/4 ton status

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    x3 on the front axle. if i want a better ride, ill go to coilovers :D duno where id get the money, but its gatta be cheaper than buying a new car ;)
     
  7. jekbrown

    jekbrown I am CK5 Premium Member GMOTM Winner Author

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    Bose is a genius. Think about how many automakers have been designing suspension systems for the last 100 years... how much ca$h those companies have put into said research... and apparently Bose has taken them to school.

    IMO, he is diversifying because he's "bored" with sound reproduction tech. He did that kind of thing for so long that it didn't hold to many secrets for him to discover... problems to figure out etc. His mind needs challenges, so he's looking elsewhere.

    j
     
  8. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

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    We lugged around my guitarists all tube Marshall JCM2000 100w for 4 years and never had a tube failure. That was including several 3-4 hour trips to Houston stuffed under my drums and everyone elses equipment in the Burb after it was lifted.... The things with tubes is you just need to not drop the thing from 2 or 3 feet up, and it won't mess up...but if you are going to pay $1,300 for just the head....you are going to take care of it...lol

    Bose is already top gun (IMO) in home audio, so he should run out into other things....and about the closest he got to any kind of live performance (instruments, PA, anything) that I can recall is a power amp for a P.A. system.

    Cool stuff to see...any odds on how popular this will actually be, though? For some reason, I think it will fall by the wayside like the Quadrasteer....
     
  9. Inu-Hanyou1776

    Inu-Hanyou1776 1/2 ton status

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    I wonder how many pounds of transformers have to be added to the car to jack the normal 12V up to the high-voltages needed for the electromagnets to do their job? And I wonder what voltages the electromagnets are running at? Probably high enough to kill you instantly if you tried working on them while on.
     
  10. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    the cars it was going into might not run on 12v maybe be more, or if would use capasiters to hold the charge.

    also it does not take much volts to kill you i read about a guy who killed him self with a 9v battery!, then again i have had a 600v dc welder arc through me, and a 100amp circit, and i am (mostly) fine lol
     
  11. 89GMCSuburban

    89GMCSuburban 1/2 ton status

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    Amps kill, not volts. It actually takes something like .01 amps of current to actually kill you. You can have one million bajillion volts and have it not kill you. Take lightning for example....have lots of volts, but not much for amps. That's why people can survive direct hits.

    EDIT : 100 mA to be correct...
     
  12. diesel4me

    diesel4me 1 ton status Premium Member

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    Bose....

    I heard they invented (or were at least fooling with) an "Eletronic Muffler" for cars and other engines that used sound waves to cancel out the explosions of each cylinder firing!..they claimed it worked great,and a patent was pending..this was 5 or more years ago..haven't seen one yet..probably still trying to perfect a fireproof sub-woofer.. :p:

    This new suspension sounds interesting--but as for a daily use vehicle,I suspect its service life would be very short..especially around MA in winter,one trip on our salty roads,and ZOT!..so much for their "high voltage" suspension.. :haha: ..I wish they would invent a way to zap the yapppies on their cellular phones with high voltage every time they pull boners while driving instead...be money better spent!.. :crazy:

    As for amps killing you,it don't take too much!..I know of 3 mechanics who died after touching spark plug wires on GM HEI ignitions..they did have heart problems,but doctors warn that ANY person could be killed under the right conditions if you touch a high energy ignition's coil output.. :eek1:
     
  13. darkshadow

    darkshadow 1 ton status

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    the guy who killed him self with the 9 volt poked his two thumbs with the teasting probs of a ome meater, (trying to meather the resistance of his body:rolleyes:) they say he poked to hard and pearced his thumbs and the disruption stoped his heart!
     
  14. surpip

    surpip 1 ton status

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    9v batt. has about 100 mili amps.
     

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