A Perfectly Spherical Tire.

A fascinating concept, and it’s rather fun to see a positive image of the future, like we did back in the ’70s. That said, just enjoy this, rather than be an asshole who just has to find fault with everything. You can read all about it at Dezeen.


  1. says

    Consider a spherical tire!

    That’s pretty cool -- assuming that potholes and squirrels have been solved.

    In Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash there is a skateboard with smart wheels that have little footies that come out on impellers so that the board “hovers” smoothly at a uniform distance from the surface it’s going over. That seems more practical and achievable and it’s what I expected this thing was going to do. I want one of those skateboards, I cannot lie.

  2. says

    I imagine it’s easier to hover a skateboard than a vehicle. Of course, I wouldn’t know, maybe it wouldn’t be! I like the idea of spherical tires, but I have to say the most interesting bit to me was the self-healing aspect. That would be good, really good.

  3. says

    And I have to say, I’d love to know how these would perform on all the dirt and gravel roads here. Those buggers are tough on everything, except perhaps giant tractor tires. You get the distinct idea this is an urban only idea, but it would be very cool to see this expanded to different terrains.

  4. komarov says

    I suppose a car could be easier* to hover because there is much more room to fit the equipment compared to a skateboard. It might also help that occupant or other cargo are much lighter (in relative terms) than the vehicle. But wouldn’t a hovercar also be exceptionally loud? Pedestrians might also be upset at the sprays of dust / mud / water that would follow in its wake.

    As for dirt and gravel, that would probably depend on just how fast the surface heals. In principle the wear and tear is the same, just faster, right? So as long as the tire can heal quickly enough to always have a fresh surface ring it should be fine. Perhaps rugged versions could use tougher materials or simply be bigger to make even more surface area available.
    I wonder, though, what would happen if if bigger pieces of debris got stuck on the surface and ended up in the cavity holding the tire. In the video it appears to be quite narrow. On the other hand that smart surface could make life a lot easier provided it reacts quickly enough. You could set it up so that only the bit contacting the ground is ‘grippy’, while the rest of the time it changes back into a smooth state to keep it clean and stop it from carrying dirt, water or other particulates too far into said cavity. A certain degree of self-cleaning might even be required; layers of dirt would probably interfere with the healing process.

    Chigau: I’m guessing Alex is no longer needed and has been sent for storage and recharging as well. The future is a foreign country…

    *Not to be confused with easy. Nor am I convinced it’s all that sensible.

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