By Pete Pachal2014-10-05 09:00:15 UTC

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You probably know Bose from its line of expensive Wave radios or noise-canceling headphones. What you may not know is that the company played a role in debunking cold fusion back in the early 1990s.

Okay, let’s back up. In 1989, a couple of scientists named Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann claimed that the excess energy generated from a laboratory experiment was because of a nuclear reaction at room temperature — known colloquially as “cold fusion.” The scientific community rejected the idea when it couldn’t reproduce the results, but the question remained: Where did the excess energy come from?

Enter Bose.

The audio company has a close relationship with MIT, and it had lots of interested experts on staff. It decided to research cold fusion on its own, hiring more scientists until it had a multi-person team who explored the topic for two years. By the end, Bose concluded that the excess energy was precisely accounted for by a missing term in the calculations.

Bose developed an extraordinarily sophisticated car-suspension system in the early 2000s, but it was ultimately not commercially viable.

Image: Mashable, Luke Leonard

That wasn’t the last time Bose — which turned 50 this year — ventured outside its audio expertise. In 2004 the company unveiled a sophisticated car-suspension system. The system provided a much smoother ride than a normal suspension, but it also made the car very heavy and very expensive, so it was never commercialized. However, Bose developed a smaller version of the system for individual seats, and that system is used in thousands of trucks on the road today.

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Image: Mashable, Luke Leonard