Five New Wheel Technologies


Since humans first invented wheels, they have completely revolutionized our way of living. Yet there remain unanswered questions, such as why wheeled transport failed to become widespread in pre-Columbian America.

Instead of employing traditional drive shafts, this technology directly installs motors around each wheel, eliminating the time lag that typically arises with conventional power transfer and providing more precise control.

Reconfigurable Wheel-Track

Military vehicles must choose between tracks and wheels when it comes to military vehicles, with channels providing better traction on soft surfaces than wheels for speedier travel over hard ones. But now the Pentagon’s Advanced Research Projects Agency is making it easier for soldiers to have both by reinventing the wheel. Their Reconfigurable Wheel-Track can quickly switch from tire to triangular track mode while moving within two seconds!

This system comprises an outer tire/tread, an adaptable frame, and a drive mechanism capable of wheel and track operation. This device also has electronics for sensing, actuation, and control. In wheel mode, a brake is employed to prevent it from spinning; once track mode has been initiated by command from above, however, its brake disengages and the sun gear 318 engages instead to drive articulated inner support members 202, 204 articulated by sun gear 318 drives set of sprockets connected by sun gear 318 driving an assembly in wheel state which then switches over into track mode where brakes disengages when transitioned back from wheel mode into track mode by controlling brake disengages before clearing at each transition point as required based on electronic sensing, sensing actuation actuation thereby keeping assembly from spinning out-of-line when switching over when transition occurs by electronic sensing/actuation/actuation/ control electronics allows sensing/actuation/actuation/ control electronics then disengages via command to switch over from wheel mode into track mode through sun gear 318 which drives set of sprockets which articulate inner support members 202,204 articulate support members 202,204 from being locked.

As the device moves forward, its inner support members separate, and the tread lengthens into a triangular form as its impression extends out. Once complete, sun gears driven by track drive sprockets bring it into contact with the ground without stopping or losing power as its movement powers transition. Switching between wheel and track modes occurs seamlessly and without interruption because powering these transitions comes from the device’s motion alone.

Although previous innovations allowed vehicles to adjust their ground pressure, these typically required stopping and manually swapping out wheels with tracks or vice versa. NREC and Carnegie Mellon University’s Ground X-Vehicle Technologies program allows transformation on-demand without an expensive conversion unit.

This device allows vehicles to adjust the size of their contact patch based on the surface type and speed by decreasing contact patches on smooth surfaces to achieve higher rates while increasing traction on rough ones for increased maneuverability. Today’s Humvees can accomplish something similar by altering tire pressure for different terrains – however, this new device offers much greater precision.

Pirelli’s Bluetooth Speaker

When most of us think of speakers, we probably envision something simple and functional – but this manufacturer decided to go further! Pirelli Tire Company* joined forces with Italian audio equipment producer iXoost to produce a Bluetooth speaker in the shape of one-half-size Formula 1 racing wheel and tire.

The P Zero Sound comes in nine vibrant hues that mirror those used to differentiate the various Formula 1 compounds. Its the appealing shape, and compact size makes it an inspiring design piece, adding a distinct motorsport-infused accent to any room it graces.

P Zero Sound’s advanced 4.0 Bluetooth APTX technology lets you wirelessly connect with your smartphone, amplifying audio signals in wireless mode for high-quality music playback. Thanks to its acoustic system consisting of a powerful amplifier with 100W digital signal processing power and an aluminum replica of 6.5 inches wheel, P Zero Sound offers a fantastic listening experience.

Limited numbers are being released of a special edition commemorating Pirelli’s 150th anniversary, featuring red and gold colors inspired by their race car livery, along with a leather pouch to protect it during travel.

Pirelli’s P Zero Sound may cost about $2,800 but could make for an eye-catching conversation piece at any F1 fan’s next party! If you have enough money and are an avid supporter of F1, then investing in one could show your love of F1 in style while providing eye-catching conversation starters at every party you attend.


Many wheelchair users experience discomfort when riding their chairs due to impact forces and vibration. A company from Israel called SoftWheel is working towards alleviating this by combining suspension and wheels into one unit for maximum shock absorption and greater comfort when riding wheelchairs.

This wheel features three shock absorbers that also serve as spokes, set equidistant around a central hub and set at equal intervals, according to Wired. Under normal loads, these spokes remain static. Still, under stress or heavy loads, they deflect around the hub to absorb bumps, allowing wheelchair users to roll easily over obstacles such as cracks and curbs while decreasing back pain and spasticity. Furthermore, Wired reports that its company intends to expand this technology onto bicycles and cars.

SoftWheels claims that traditional wheels require up to 30% of energy from users to propel a wheelchair forward, leading to discomfort and fatigue for users. Conversely, SoftWheels use only 10% of this energy and have an adjustable suspension system compatible with all wheelchairs.

SoftWheels features an innovative suspension system comprising three shock absorbers attached to its hub, strategically spaced so they can evenly absorb force from obstacles from any direction. Although its rigid rim remains rigid, its suspension shocks compress during an impact to absorb shocks and then reset later; this keeps its balance while attenuating vibration.

SoftWheels wheels provide more than suspension; they are lightweight and more durable than conventional wheels. Crafted of aluminum and magnesium alloys, SoftWheels wheels can withstand loads up to 300 lb with ease, plus low maintenance costs thanks to plastic bushings from Igus that boast high tensile strength and wear resistance.

Numotion of Brentwood, Tennessee, has joined forces with SoftWheel to offer their in-wheel suspension technology in the US market through their online store beginning September 2016. This innovative suspension technology helps improve ride capabilities by minimizing shocks and vibrations during the everyday use of wheelchairs.

Eagle 360 Urban

Goodyear unveiled their Eagle 360 Spherical Concept Tire at last year’s Geneva Motor Show and used magnetic levitation suspension technology to connect it to vehicles via a magnetic levitation suspension system, enabling vehicles to move in all directions. Now at this year’s Geneva Motor Show, Goodyear is expanding their technology even further by unveiling their Eagle 360 Urban concept tire equipped with artificial intelligence that adapts to changing road conditions with features such as intelligent bionic skin technology, morphing tread patterns, and self-healing features – packed full of artificial intelligence packed into its design!

The tire features a 3D-printed, elastic bionic skin with embedded sensors that can expand and contract as needed for maximum efficiency. Sensors embedded within its surface monitor road conditions and transmit that data back to autonomous systems on board the car. Its tread hardens in dry environments while softening during wet ones to provide consistent performance. Furthermore, its non-pneumatic construction eliminates pressure monitoring needs for decreased downtime and improved maintenance, with bonding technology used to repair punctures.

If the bionic skin of a tire is punctured, its rotation reduces pressure at the puncture site while simultaneously initiating self-healing processes. Unique materials flow directly to the puncture site, where they interact to form chemical and physical bonds to seal off holes, eventually closing them completely. Subsequent rotation shifts contact points so that punctures no longer touch each other, triggering self-healing.

Although not yet capable of driving a car with the Eagle 360 Urban on public roads, its technology could eventually find its way into vehicles with self-driving capabilities. A revolution is occurring at the intersection of autonomy, mobility, and connectivity – and tires are set to play an essential role.

Eagle 360 Urban tires may take time to be seen on our roads, as they were specifically designed for vehicles steered by artificial intelligence (AI). To create suitable vehicles for AI use, the company will partner with automotive manufacturers and automakers – but once available, drivers will appreciate its high maneuverability and long-lasting capabilities.