Smart Tires

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The idea has been around in science fiction since at least the ‘60s. The implementation I found most impressive was an all terrain motorcycle capable of >100 mph in open country. Imagine an array of collapsible rods instantly retracting and extending in response to the underlying surface. If these thing are arrayed around a hub with the ability to extend laterally as well as vertically not only would objects up to the length of the rods be imperceptible to the rider, turning at speed would allow for rapid avoidance of larger obstacles as the rods pushed the bike into a horizontal position. Just watch out for the G forces! A computer simulation of this would be really cool. I bet some smart kids could do this on the cheap using Alias and the physics engines in todays graphic cards. The biggest challenge I see is the construction of the rods to allow for maximum extension. Say you want to have an extension of 60 cm (which is about what I ran into with my TR3, blowing out Bob’s teeth) then you have to add the diameter of the hub. Hmm… actually they could go through the hub. If you let them go through the hub then reaction time will have to increase, also distribution of the weight around the hub will be constantly changing putting increased stress on the central bearing. Some interesting engineering challenges in any case.