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 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.
- the hub
- polyurethane spokes
- a "shear band" surrounding the spokes
- the tread band.
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 |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 17 )
Related News Stories -
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
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.
LA Subway Scanner, As Seen In 'Total Recall'
'I'm afraid to tell you this Mr. Quaid, but you have suffered a schizoed embolism...'
Sion Electric Car Covered With Solar Panels
'It drew its power from six square yards of sunpower screens on its low curved roof.'
PAL-V Liberty Flying Helicopter Car
'...lifted themselves to skimming flight upon whirling helicopters."
Space Drones - UK's Effective Space To Launch Rocket Tugs
'Twenty rocket tugs towed it from its Earth hangar out into space.'
DIY Autonomous Robot Detects Trash
'The search-bug detached itself and rolled forward.'
Ancient Russian Walking Excavator Would Be Perfect RV
I don't need it to go fast, it just needs to amble along.
ELROI Satellite 'License Plate'
Robert Heinlein was thinking about this in 1941.
When Robots Beg For Their Lives
"Just what do you think you're doing... Dave.'
Do You Still Want A Folding Screen Phone?
'A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled...'
'Snapchat Dysmorphia' Now A Thing, Say Plastic Surgeons
'The program raced up the screen one scan line at a time, subtly smoothing, deleting and coloring.'
Quiet Electric Cars Law Finalized By US Transportation Department
'... a sound tape to supply the noise'
Drone Assassin Fails To Kill Venezuelan President
'The spotter descends, and we think it searches the vicinity, looking for the victim's face...'
Stick-On Tape Speakers, As Predicted By Bruce Sterling
Flexible tape speakers, someday.
Bezos Invites You To New Life In Off-World Colonies
'A new life awaits you!'
Amazon's Rekognition System Sees Criminals In Congress
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'
Build Your Own Space Suit For Cheap
'I'm going to pump the air from this room... so that the interior will be like airless and pressure-less space.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories