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.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Datagrid Model Generation Perfect For Eternal Cities Of Science Fiction
'... there was enough flexibility to allow for wide variation.

Kazahk Ironist Protester Arrested For Blank Sign Protest
'...a man carried a white rectangular sign, blank on both sides.'

Bitcoin Surges Again, To $7,000
'... electronic, private cash, unbacked by any government, untraceable, completely anonymous.'

China Develops Taste Testing Robots
'Install taste buds in the end of one tentacle...'

North Sea Stone Age Reconstruction And Philip K Dick
'Your Dip digs back into antiquity. Rome. Greece. Dust and old volumes.'

Tesla Robotaxis Will Automatically Recharge Themselves
'Then it appeared to make up its mind, and trundled over to a wall socket...'

New Lifelike Material Powered By Artificial Metabolism
'... The biological robots were not living creatures.'

Husqvarna Automower 435X AWD
'Gramp Stevens sat in a lawn chair, watching the mower at work...'

Elon Musk Foretells Tesla Sans Steering Wheel
'How about the steering wheel... I don't need one.'

Adversarial Patches Trick Computer Vision
'The surveillance cameras can all see it, but then they forget they’ve seen it.'

Amazon Warehouse Computer Can Fire People Now
'The system has already fired five people...'

BrainEx Restores Some Activity To Severed Pig Head
'... they placed the brain in a special solution, having all the properties of Nursing the brain cells.'

Yes, But Do Astrobees Have Lasers For Lightsaber Training?
'... Ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid.'

'Young Razorbacks Before Their Katanas Grow In'
'Twin robotic arms with gleaming three-foot sword blades unfolded from the forward hydraulic assemblies...'

A New Way To Run Into Things
'He made an adjustment, pointed the tube at the wall beside Etzwane, and projected a cone of light.'

'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...'

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.