Thursday, May 19, 2005

Quadraphonic Shocks

In one of the advanced controls labs we took together, a friend of mine did work with using active noise cancellation to deaden the sound at a particular point. This is the same sort of technology that's built into those Bose headphones that they sell on TV that deadens the noise around you while not deadening the sound you want to hear.

Well, as I learned from this month's IEEE Spectrum magazine, Bose has been applying this same technology to vehicle suspension, and the results are really extraordinary. (Images below should help demonstrate this)

You see, for the past 25 years Bose and Delphi have been trying to use active noise cancellation technologies to improve car suspensions. Delphi's system has decent performance but is lacking in particular areas. Bose, however, has a really impressive system that is very close to being implemented in vehicles on teh market.

Even though Bose was ready to file patents for these technologies in the 80's, they knew it wouldn't be ready to sell until now, so they didn't want to risk the patent running out. That's why they've only recently patented this technology.

What were the "speed bumps?" Primarily it was the actuators. Bose couldn't find actuators powerful enough, so they built their own. Now they have "quadraphonic shocks."

Take a look at the IEEE article: Easy Ride

The figure, Smoothing the Road, shows an example of them working over a bumpy surface. It's really amazing. The top image is without the new system. The bottom image is with the new system.
Smoothing the Road (top: normal; bottom: quadraphonic shocks)

Even more amazing, perhaps, is the figure, Quadraphonic Shocks, which shows how they work around a tight turn. The vehicle on the right doesn't even look like it's turning!
Quadraphonic Shocks (left: normal tight turn; right: quadraphonic tight turn)

That's pretty neat.


grrrbear said...

That is awesome! Now, when I run over somebody, I won't even *notice*! That will really help reduce the amount of guilt I carry around on a regular basis...

Yay America!

Theo said...

And on top of that, the whole system runs with only 1/3 of the power needed by your AIR CONDITIONER. (this is due to its way to recycle energy continuously)

So keeping the air in your car cool chugs 2/3 more power than juggling over a ton of metal around in such a coordinated way that keeps the car flat. AMAZING.

So the next time you turn on your A/C, keep in mind that for the same energetic cost, you could smoothly run three people over... Or something.