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Innovations


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INNOVATIONS

-- Replacing a sailboat's fabric sails with a movable, vertical wing can boost performance. That's why such wings are used on some racing catamarans. Now, the technology is filtering down to the ordinary sailor in the form of a 43-foot, three-hulled "trimaran" offered by Britain's Walker Wingsail Systems. Cruising yachtsmen can control the wing with motors without leaving the shelter of the cockpit.

-- Active Control Experts Inc. in Cambridge, Mass., has developed a "smart ski" with ski-maker K2 Corp. that vibrates less and makes better contact with the snow. Tiny control circuits read the ski's bending and stiffen it as needed by sending electrical signals to special materials in the ski. ACX, founded by Massachusetts Institute of Technology grad Kenneth B. Lazarus and one of his former professors, Edward F. Crawley, is also developing the technology for the wings of F-18 fighters to make them faster.EDITED BY PETER COY


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