Design and Tech 2011

From game-changing new materials (like moisture-wicking cotton) to evolutionary leaps in engineering (like a rotating helmet for extreme crashes), the avant-garde of 21st-century gear has just one thing in common: a total disregard for the status quo.

Harman Kardon GLA-55 Speaker     Photo: Ryan Heffernan

Harman Kardon GLA-55 Speaker
CRYSTAL CLEAR
When Harman Kardon's Kurt Solland was tasked with completely reimagining what a speaker could be, he took cues from the earth's purest expression of order: crystals. To make the GLA-55, Solland spec'ed each ten-inch-tall plastic housing with 56 watts of audiophile-quality electronics—a punchy three-inch woofer and high-bandwidth tweeter, a hidden digital amplifier, and touch-sensitive controls—delivering a powerful sound that seems as if it's booming out of an ice cave. "Good design is timeless," says Solland. "You take things that have happened for billions of years, and you combine them in a pleasing way." $1,000; harmankardon.com

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