FrontRunners: Curve Appeal

The Bowers & Wilkins Zeppelin speaker system

(www­.bwspeakers.com) not only is compatible with the iPod, but just might be

worthy of it. The striking, airship-shaped system employs technology borrowed

from B&W’s famed 800 Series speakers, including the Flowport, a design that

extracts deeper bass from woofers without producing the huffing and puffing that

characterizes many speaker ports. The Zeppelin holds a 5-inch woofer, two

3.5-inch midrange drivers, and two 1-inch tweeters, a more distinguished array

than the single 3-inch driver used in many iPod speaker systems.... Another

kind of zeppelin promises to dwarf the speaker system in terms of size and

technical achievement. Scheduled for completion in 2010, the Aeros ML Hybrid

Aircraft (www­.aeroscraft.com), a 210-foot-long airship

that uses 14 million cubic feet of helium to stay aloft, will be capable of

housing a small hotel. The Aeroscraft (as it also is called) will take off and

land vertically but fly like a plane, propelled by turboprop engines. If it

meets expectations, it will achieve 155 mph and have a range of 3,100 miles. The

company also is developing a version of the craft for business use. . . . By the

time airborne cruise ships appear, their pilots may have to watch out for flying

cars. A firm named Terrafugia expects to deliver one such vehicle, the

Transition (www­.terrafugia.com), in 2009. The company says the craft will reach

highway speeds in its automotive configuration and fly at 115 mph for 460 miles

with its wings down. Terrafugia is accepting deposits of $7,400 on the $148,000

vehicle.

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