Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Tweel - (Almost) A Smart Wheel

Michelin is introducing the Tweel - a combination of wheel and tire that could offer a number of benefits to owners of wheeled vehicles. Unlike most Michelin tires sold in the past century, the Tweel is unique - it does not use air to cushion the ride.


(From The Michelin Tweel)

When mounted on a car, the Tweel is a single unit consisting of four pieces:

  • the hub
  • polyurethane spokes
  • a "shear band" surrounding the spokes
  • the tread band.
The injection-molded polyurethane spokes are flexible; this allows them to effectively absorb impacts by "shortening" (i.e., bending) when hitting a bump. The key advance that this system offers over a tube of air is that it separates several important ride characteristics. Lateral stiffness improves cornering; the only way to get that with a traditional tire is to increase tire pressure. Unfortunately, when you increase tire pressure, you ruin another important characteristic, namely, ride comfort. The Tweel can be engineered to give five times the lateral stiffness as a pneumatic tire without any loss in ride comfort.

As an aside, its about time somebody improved on regular wheel spokes, which were introduced in about 2700 BC (before that, people used solid wood wheels).

In his 1992 novel Snow Crash, sf author Neal Stephenson writes about smart wheels that have similar characteristics:

Smart wheels ... consist of a hub with many tiny spokes. Each spoke telescopes into five sections. On the end is a squat foot, rubber tread on the bottom, swiveling on a ball joint. As the wheel rolls, the feet plant themselves one at a time, almost glomming into one continuous tire...

You might be interested in another development in robotic wheels with variable shaped spokes - see Soft Robot Powered By Shape Memory Alloy Spokes; they have a wheel rim made of elastic polymer. Read details about the Tweel at Reinventing the Wheel (and the Tire, Too). Thanks to alert readers (like Per) who pointed this one out.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 1/12/2005)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 17 )

Related News Stories - (" Travel ")

Google's Cartographer Backpack For Indoor Mapping
'He reached to unsnap the cartograph from his belt.'- Jack Williamson, 1931.

Live Luggage Ready To Roll
Nowadays, the airlines will probably charge extra for luggage that can move itself.

Porter 'Robots' For Baggage, If Not People
Anybody who is working on an automated solution to me carrying my bags through the airport gets an A for effort from me.

Tweel - (Almost) A Smart Wheel
Michelin is introducing the Tweel - a combination of wheel and tire that could offer a number of benefits to owners of wheeled vehicles. Unlike most Michelin tires sold in the past century, the Tweel is unique - it does not use air to cushion the rid

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

SpaceX Wants A Moonbase Alpha
'And he had been sent with troops, supplies and bombs to command Russia's most trusted post, the Moonbase.'

Vast Apartment Living Will Get Even More Vast
'What is your population', I asked. 'About eighty millions.'

NASA Wants Self-Driving Or Remote-Controlled Vehicles For Lunar Astronauts
'THE autobus turned silently down the wide street of Hydropole. Robot-guided, insulated from noise and cold...'

Elon Musk Says Robotaxis Will Be Ready This August, 2024
'The car had no steering wheel, and no one drove!'

Moonwalkers AI-Controlled Electric Shoes
Now that's power walking that Hugo Gernsback would have approved.

Steve Jobs: 'Capture The Next Aristotle - With AI'
'It was disturbing to think of the Flatline as a construct...'

No Tips! Robotic Food Delivery In Phoenix
'...he rewired the delivery robot so that it would serve him midnight snacks.'

Electric Catamaran 'Explorer Eco 40m' Has 'Solar Skin'
'On went the electric-yacht faster and still faster.'

Orbital Mechanics, The Liftoff, The Turnover, The Retrograde Burn
'...the huge vessel had spun, with a sickening lurch, through a complete half-circle, the instant the power was reversed.'

Harvest Power From Tears And Blinking With Smart Contact Lens
'...he realized that it was not quite a clear lens. Speckles of colored brightness swirled and gathered in it.'

Europa Clipper Plate Carries A Special Message
'...a universal cryptogram yet it is one which can be interpreted by any intelligent creature on any planet in the Solar System!'

Micro-Robots Are Smallest, Fully Functional
'With a whir, the Scarab shot from the concealing shadows of the corner where it had hidden itself.'

AI Enhances Images Your Brain Sees
'I could have sworn the psychomat showed pictures almost as sharp and detailed as reality itself'

Illustrating Classic Heinlein With AI
'Stasis, cold sleep, hibernation, hypothermia, reduced metabolism, call it what you will - the logistics-medicine research teams had found a way to stack people like cordwood and use them when needed.'

Deflector Plasma Screen For Drones ala Star Wars
'If the enemy persists in attacking or even intensifies their power, the density of the plasma in space will suddenly increase, causing it to reflect most of the incoming energy like a mirror.'

DIY Robotic Hand Made After Loss Of Fingers
'I made them... with the fine work of the watchmaker...'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.