As incredibly complex as speaker systems seem, we're always left dumbfounded when someone tells us that they're basically a magnet, coil and a cone to make the air move and vibrate. It was reassuring to our small-minded way of thinking when we recently learned about Bose's new use for their advanced speakers. They've developed a speaker technology to create a rump unshaking car seat. Long known for its innovations in speaker systems, Bose debuted a custom-fitted seat for long-haul truck drivers called Bose Ride. It promises to reduce fatigue, back pain and physical stress caused by the tough daily drives faced by professional truckers. Bose Ride uses electro-magnetic actuators, high-power amplifiers and control algorithms similar to those from the company's pioneering active suspension research, to actively counter vibrations from bumpy or uneven roads. The system is powerful enough to support a 350-pound driver.
Bose reps were initially coy about pricing for the seats, but in March it announced a price of $6,000, and said that sales initially would go to fleets, and later to individual owner-operated truckers.
The technology used in Bose Ride came from something called "Project Sound," what Bose called its research into a vehicle suspension that would hold corners as well as offer a comfortable ride.
The Bose suspension trades springs and shocks for the coils and magnets that comprise an electromagnetic motor -- and sophisticated amplifiers, not unlike the ones in your stereo system. Essentially, the system moves the wheels in reaction to sensing changing road surfaces. It can do some tricky stuff as well. At the debut back in 2005 at Bose's HQ near Boston, the engineers had programmed the suspension to hop over a 2-by-4. Which it did -- and then the test Lexus took a bow.
Bose said five years ago his company was working with automakers and had hoped to make a deal with one for his seats. He said the same thing when we spoke to him earlier this year, hinting that a German brand was the one in mind. More details would have to wait, he said. "Some things," he said, "you just believe in."