Loads of innovations have been seen in automobiles in recent decades, with cars being equipped with newer features every day. Now innovation in tires has surfaced, allowing the new wheel to re-structure itself to best suit the surface it rolls on.
The newly developed shape-shifting wheel caters to rovers’ demand on other planets, such as the perseverance rover on Mars, that will allow the rover to drive at unknown surfaces with ease.
Wheels are known to humans for thousands of years and initially were used to role heavy objects, mainly coming in handy for ancient construction works. From those to differently designed wheels for cars, filled with air, tubeless, hydrogen-filled wheels have rolled a long distance.
Now the new origami-like wheel re-structures itself according to suit best the surface they roll on. The new tire could shift to a tall and skinny shape to suit a rocky surface drive and shift to a fat shape for surfaces like sand. It could bear tons of load, even while it changes the shape. Making it a high load capacity ‘origami transform-able wheel.” Its high load-bearing capacity comes from its flexible and soft membrane that absorbs shocks in an unmatched manner.
The transform-able origami wheel initially would cater to planetary rovers’ demand, transferring energy to the ground in the most effective way while conserving the excess energy to make the rovers run for longer periods. It cuts the need to develop new wheels for unknown surfaces, which was a difficult feat on its own, as scientists and developers didn’t know much about the surfaces beyond earth. This is where the new wheel comes in, having immense capabilities to re-structure itself to best suit all surfaces.
A team of researchers from different known universities behind the built said they could integrate the technology with more mainstream used rubber tires manufacturing to increase its utility to the max.