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

Star Trek Voyager Replica Tricorder And Galaxy Quest
'They designed those controls after watching you...take her out!'

Rolls Royce Electric Airplane Breaks Records
'A white electric plane approached at great speed...'

Chang'e-5 Lunar Lander Seeks Water
'... get out the solar power apparatus and send it down to us from the air-lock by the crane.'

I Really Want A Folding Computer
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'

A Kill Switch For Your Car?
'The car faltered as the external command came to brake...'

Scientifiction, Searchlight of Science
'And science goes on, with scientifiction as its searchlight.'

Wearable Biomedical Sensors Printed Directly On Your Skin
'The dragon is a skin computer... People put it on their arms and exchange personal data.'

Artificial, Implantable Kidney Prototype
'George Walt's corporate existence proved the workability of wholly mechanical organs...'

Ultra-short Pulse Laser Kills Bacteria In Vivo
'...coherent beams at precise wave-lengths passing through her flesh to zap foreign molecules within her body.'

Bioprint Prototype Handheld Bioprinter
'He turned the little art-derm nozzle...'

Betty Crocker, The First Company Avatar
'After six months of surgery and psycho-conditioning, he was identical with the other 496 Mr. Prestos...'

Augmented Reality Book Covers Reveal The Inner Book
'The E-paper holograms leaped from lurid covers...'

The First Multi-User Hologram Table?
Let the Wookiee win.

Apollo 8 Astronauts Pass The Equigravisphere
'... divers other objects, firearms and bottles, abandoned to themselves, held themselves up as by enchantment.'

Stellar Pizza Is A Pizza Robot That Comes To You
'No hand touched the food...'

Yamaha MOTOROiD Living Motorcycle Experiment
'He had never ridden any motorized device that lacked onboard steering and balance systems.'

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.