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Posted: 8/10/2005 9:37:39 PM EDT
I mean, come on, it's been thousands of years. There must be something better than spinners.
Link Posted: 8/10/2005 11:39:53 PM EDT
Levitation??????
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 8:28:23 AM EDT
google "tweel"
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 8:33:01 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 10:17:21 AM EDT
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 10:23:57 AM EDT
I would square it out a bit.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 11:56:43 AM EDT
I confess.
I posted this last night to bump my post count but holy wow!

The Tweel:

Link Posted: 8/11/2005 3:32:14 PM EDT
now if only the "Tweel" didn't look fugly.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 3:35:49 PM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
I confess.
I posted this last night to bump my post count but holy wow!

The Tweel:

www.michelinman.com/images/promo/2005_tweel_gallery/tweel_010.JPG


What's the point of it?
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 4:42:24 PM EDT
I think the point is that it can't go flat
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 7:11:36 PM EDT
for those that didn't care to google:


Michelin showcased a potential future for mobility, an integrated tire and wheel combination missing one ingredient that is vital for traditional tire performance...air. The company unveiled the first real-world fitments for its revolutionary "Tweel" – which operates entirely without air. View the photo gallery.

"Major revolutions in mobility may come along only once in a hundred years," said Terry Gettys, president of Michelin Americas Research and Development Center in Greenville, S.C. "But a new century has dawned and Tweel has proven its potential to transform mobility. Tweel enables us to reach levels of performance that quite simply aren't possible with today's conventional pneumatic technology."

Michelin's Tweel is in production and available as an enhancement for future iBOT™ mobility systems. Invented by Dean Kamen, the iBOT™ mobility device has the ability to climb stairs and navigate uneven terrain, offering mobility freedom impossible with traditional wheelchairs. Additionally, Segway LLC's Concept Centaur, a prototype that applies self-balancing technology to a four-wheel device, has also been equipped with Tweel to increase its performance potential.

Beyond these first real-world applications, Michelin has additional projects for Tweel on construction skidsteers and a variety of military vehicles. The most intriguing application may be Michelin's early prototype Tweel fitment for passenger cars. The mobility company released video of promising Tweel performance on an Audi A4.

"The Tweel automotive application, as demonstrated on the Audi, is definitely a concept, a stretch application with strong future potential," said Gettys. "Our concentration is to enter the market with lower-speed, lower-weight Tweel applications. What we learn from our early successes will be applied to Tweel fitments for passenger cars and beyond."

Benefits of Tweel™:
The heart of Tweel innovation is its deceptively simple looking hub and spoke design that replaces the need for air pressure while delivering performance previously only available from pneumatic tires. The flexible spokes are fused with a flexible wheel that deforms to absorb shock and rebound with unimaginable ease. Without the air needed by conventional tires, Tweel still delivers pneumatic-like performance in weight-carrying capacity, ride comfort, and the ability to "envelope" road hazards.

Michelin has also found that it can tune Tweel performances independently of each other, which is a significant change from conventional tires. This means that vertical stiffness (which primarily affects ride comfort) and lateral stiffness (which affects handling and cornering) can both be optimized, pushing the performance envelope in these applications and enabling new performances not possible for current inflated tires. The Tweel prototype, demonstrated on the Audi A4, is within five percent of the rolling resistance and mass levels of current pneumatic tires. That translates to within one percent of the fuel economy of the OE fitment. Additionally, Michelin has increased the lateral stiffness by a factor of five, making the prototype unusually responsive in its handling.

Future of Tweel™ Technology:
For Michelin, Tweel is a long-term vision that represents the next step in a long path of industry-changing innovations. Fifty years ago, Michelin invented the radial tire and there is no question that radial tire technology will continue as the standard for a long time to come. Michelin continues to advance the performance of the radial tire in areas such as rolling resistance, wear life and grip. In the short-term, the lessons learned from Tweel research are being applied to improve those conventional tire performances. In the future, Tweel may reinvent the way that vehicles move. Checking tire pressure, fixing flats, highway blow-outs and balancing between traction and comfort could all fade into memory.



In short, there are a number of potential advantages apart from not going flat. Less weight being the most obvious.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 10:06:34 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
now if only the "Tweel" didn't look fugly.



... Aesthetics comes in a distance second over functionality to engineers
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 10:14:29 PM EDT

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
I think the point is that it can't go flat



Ahhh screw that - I'm in for a Flying Carpet when they come out.
Link Posted: 8/11/2005 11:38:29 PM EDT


Link Posted: 8/12/2005 4:59:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf:

Originally Posted By FanoftheBlackRifle:
now if only the "Tweel" didn't look fugly.



... Aesthetics comes in a distance second over functionality to engineers




Oh, I know that. I'm just saying that the current version is pretty fugly, and they'll have to do something about it before I buy them.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 10:29:08 AM EDT
I'd imagine a soft sidewall could be used to make it look "normal" and not effect function. Leaving it without a sidewall would certainly allow for rocks and mud to glob in the tweel... My hunch is that the tweel prototype we are looking at is exposed to show us whats so darn revolutionary about it.
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 10:33:43 AM EDT
It's hard to improve on TRIPLE GOLD DAYTONS, BEEEOTCH!
Link Posted: 8/12/2005 10:41:34 AM EDT
I also think that in the future the magnetic systems might work to replace wheels for much of our transport... who knows, I will be dead by that time!
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 3:03:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
I confess.
I posted this last night to bump my post count but holy wow!

The Tweel:

www.michelinman.com/images/promo/2005_tweel_gallery/tweel_010.JPG



Where's the hubcap spinner? I'm not touching them till they come with spinners!
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 3:19:16 AM EDT
It would have to have closed sides to keep out mud and snow. This is a "look at how I work" version I think.
Link Posted: 8/13/2005 10:48:44 AM EDT

Originally Posted By captainpooby:
It would have to have closed sides to keep out mud and snow. This is a "look at how I work" version I think.



Could be...makes sense... I thought I saw a tv program on this, however, and none of them had enclosed sidewalls. In fact, the program suggested that automobile apps were quite a ways off but that the tweel would be easy to implement on wheelchairs, segqays, skid steers, etc. The program specifically noted problems with muck, etc. getting in the wheels and wreaking havoc...unbalancing them being the most notable malady.

Although a sidewall could be added, I believe that such a solution would take away one other advantage engineers were trying to give the tweel. Because oit doesn't need to hold air, you could have holes in the surface of the tweel to prevent hydroplaning. If you add a sidewall, you have to add a baffle since the sidewall cannot cover the hub/axle on a modular wheel. The hole where the lugs went on both sides would allow debris into the tweel.

Still, you can't aska question on arfcom, even in jest, without some smart aleck giving an answer, no matter how imperfect.

p.s. I believe there was a thread on this in GD some months ago, not long after I saw the tv program. I think I saw it on discovery when most of the shows were still good and not 'reality tv' or home renovation
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