Expanding Wheels Cover Every Type Of Terrain

The normal tire has been adapted over the course of a century to be pretty damn good at carrying people places. But from time to time they still break,

Ackeem Ngwenya is a Royal College of Arts graduate who has been working on his expanding wheel concept for a few years now. I met him two years ago, when his design prototype was built out of paper, sticks, and a few 3-D printed components.

Illustration for article titled Expanding Wheels Cover Every Type Of Terrain
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The current evolution stays fairly true to the original design principles: using a scissor-jack mechanism, the wheel can become smaller and fatter to increase grip, or larger and thinner for better paved surfaces. Internal structure comes from a series of spokes, which attach to a central hub, and are then tensioned by pushing the spokes in or out, allowing the wheel to contract or expand.

The idea is to produce a robust wheel that's puncture-resistant, and able to adapt to all sorts of terrain — Ngwenya's hope is to make the lives of rural farmers in developing countries easier. His project isn't the first to take the air out of tires — that honor goes to Michelin — but the expandability trick (if it works) could prove unique. [Dezeen]

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DISCUSSION

Projects like this often start with the lofty objective of "making the lives of rural farmers in developing countries easier", but then end up being used in the latest multi-terrain r/c toy for the holidays.