Sounds from above
Unlike conventional tow bars, the Easy Pul can be used with practically any car without the need for special adaptors, and it folds to fit in most car trunks. It consists of a cadmium-plated steel boom with a ball hitch at one end, twin pivoting legs at the other, and a heavy-duty chain laced between the legs with its free ends running through loops at the leg tips. A toothed coupling between the legs at their pivot ensures equiangle leg extension.
Users wrap the free ends of the chain around suitable attachment points on the car to be towed, then secure the chain with integral pins to the leg tips. A nylon belt from the boom hooked to the chain center and ratcheted taut takes up any slack in the chain. The ball-hitch coupler connects to the boom with a steel parallelogram linkage. An elastomeric block between the coupler and boom reduces the shock of towing and stopping forces on the towing car.
Roshe Wolmarans, Easy Pul, Rt. 4, Box 1598, US Hwy 27N, Havana, FL 32333, 1-800-327-9785.
Universal tow bar
Cheekily pointing out that ankles can't hear, the makers of the Top-Down Surround Sound system hope to replace door-mounted automotive stereo speakers with a series of piezoelectric transducers fitted in a car's headliner.
Depending on the vehicle, the system requires between two and eight of the transducers as well as a conventional subwoofer that can be placed anywhere in the cabin. The 20-W transducers deliver a frequency response of 200 Hz to 20 kHz. Their overhead placement is said to produce a superior surround-sound effect. Just 0.04-inch-thick and weighing, at most, 5 oz, the system is a fraction of the weight and bulk of conventional speakers. Integral with the headliner, the design allows complete speaker installation in one step. Tier-one auto-component supplier Johnson Controls has teamed with the system's creator, OnActive Technologies, to make the system available quickly.
Glenn Warnaka, OnActive Technologies, LLC, 1025 West Nursery Rd., Linthicum, MD 21090, (410) 636-8700.