Bose’s graduate research at MIT led to the development of new technologies and he founded his company based on their patents. He continued to teach electrical engineering at MIT for forty-five years and has employed many of his students at Bose. 

With the introduction of the 901 Direct/Reflecting speaker system in 1968, Bose won international acclaim for the product’s lifelike sound reproduction. The speaker was radically different from the conventional speakers of the time, and the sound reproduction came much closer to the quality of live music.

With no woofers or tweeters, its unique blend of reflected and direct sound put Bose on the map.

Over many years Bose’s acoustics research has improved the performance of audio and entertainment systems for the home, car, aircraft, public spaces and professional music production. Hundreds of engineers, technicians and designers work together on future solutions and improvements to existing products.

Design reinforces but does not overshadow the overall impact of a Bose product. Designers at Bose focus on creating products that integrate Bose technologies with design, and their products are, as a result, extremely functional and easy to use.

An integral part of the entire product-development process, design is not something that is tacked on later. Industrial designers are engaged at the very beginning of the product-development process.

In some cases, they create sketches, mock-ups or models in support of new product-planning activities. These conceptual designs help planners understand the implications of their product requirements.

“The innovative technology of the product is the origin of everything,” says Michael Laude, director of the Bose Design Centre. “Our design teams are focused on creating a form to present and humanise this technology and its integration into the application environment, while optimising look and feel.”

Laude says the proprietary technologies incorporated in Bose products can be very complex. “Our goal is to create an acoustically accurate performance from a simple, elegant design. It requires collaboration between the industrial designers, researchers and engineers to reach a solution that presents the technology without affecting the way sound is produced and perceived.”

The industrial design team can, and does, generate product ideas. “It is a very collaborative environment where we are able to impact near-term and long-range product plans,” says Laude.

The Bose development and design process has produced products like the Wave systems. The ‘acoustic waveguide’ technology at the heart of these products gives even small devices a full-bodied sound.

In 2004, Bose relaunched a reinterpretation of its classic Wave radio. “The new design is based on the visual brand appeal we have developed over time,” says Seth Green, the designer of the Wave Music System.

“The main new feature is the CD-loading slit underneath the display. This draws the user’s attention to a single point. The new waveguides allow the profile to be even slimmer, and to have smaller slits at the front. This results in refined dimensions and improved sound quality.”

The Bose Corporation won the coveted red dot Design Team of the Year award this year and, in addition, four designs from Bose earned red dot awards this year, yet another feather in the cap for Bose and his product-development team.

For the Lifestyle V30, designers looked at how con-sumers use home-theatre systems. “The Lifestyle V30 allows consumers to conceal electronic equipment in their living spaces – including the associated wiring – so that only a few vital pieces are visible: video screen, remote control and display module,” says Michael Laude.

“The design for the Bose Computer MusicMonitor allows the best possible musical accuracy from the least obtrusive system design. The aluminium enclosures are visually striking, dissipate heat effectively, withstand the high pressure created within the small acoustic package, and provide a clean and modern look.”

Two of the red dot-winning designs reference earlier Bose products, according to Laude. “The SoundDock Portable digital music system evolved from the design of the original SoundDock system, with additional features that meet customer needs – for example, the rotating dock allows for better portability.

"And the Bose on-ear headphones follow many other design cues established in our headphone line, making them quickly identifiable as a Bose product.”

“Since our technologies are unique, we place emphasis on making our designs unique. We are respectful of the changing needs of our users; however, we avoid fads or trends and strive to make our product designs enduring. When we create a design, we also consider the opportunities to evolve that design for subsequent Bose products.” 

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