Whether you're a hard-core audiophile who wants the principal timpanist from the New York Philharmonic to sound as if he's in your living room, or merely someone who likes to crank up the volume on the stereo and play air guitar to Cream's "Sunshine of Your Love," Bose is a brand you surely recognize. The 49-year-old Massachusetts-based company is one of the most illustrious names in audio equipment, making everything from noise-cancelling headphones to the loudspeaker system in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel.
If you were a teenager at a party in the mid-1960s, and you yearned to get up close and personal with someone else, slow dancing wasn't much of an option unless you wanted to look like a square who couldn't do the Frug.
If it weren't for Douglas Engelbart, the computer on your desk might still be little more than a glorified typewriter, and you might still be struggling to remember arcane DOS commands so you could type them into a luminous green C:\ prompt on a black screen. And the multimedia marvels of the Web might not have ever existed.
Kids today have iPads and Xbox game consoles, but a lot of Baby Boomers had a childhood gadget that we loved just as much, and it didn't even require batteries.
One thing that's remarkable about Stephen A. Michelson is that he not only had multiple careers, but they were all startlingly different from one another. As a young man, he was such a good baseball player that the New York Yankees offered him a contract to play in their farm system. He went on to become a medical-device entrepreneur who marketed innovative Velcro-attached splints and developed an electrical nerve stimulation device that eventually was licensed by Dow Corning Wright Corp. After that, he founded a chain of pasta restaurants and also became one of the world's biggest importers of exotic saltwater fish.
It's a safe bet that unless you're a scientist or an engineer, you've probably never heard of Stanford Ovshinsky. And that's a shame, because his inventions made possible a lot of the electronic gadgetry that our 21st-century high-tech world has become so dependent on.
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