Goodyear Reinvents the Wheel With a Spherical Concept Tire

The materials, uses, and technical aspects of the wheel have changed throughout history, but the basic shape has remained the same. Goodyear is hoping to change that. The company recently unveiled a conceptual design for a spherical tire with 360-degree treads for "autonomous-capable vehicles," according to Market Wired.

Called the Eagle-360, each of the concept tires is 3D-printed with tread patterns that mimic the folds of brain coral. This means that the grooves get harder when dry and more pliable when wet, providing for better performance and resistance from aquaplaning. Instead of being held by a rim, the Goodyear tires would be connected to the car by magnetic levitation. Sensors inside each tire would transmit information about road and weather conditions to the car's computer so that the self-driving system could make the necessary adjustments for a safer journey.

The new design could also help drivers who struggle with parking. Goodyear suggests that the spherical tires' increased mobility will make it easier to pull into parking spaces. It could even transform the parking lot industry. "This could significantly increase the capacity of public parking areas without increasing their size," according to the company.

Goodyear UK on YouTube

Goodyear hasn't established a timeline for when the Eagle-360 would hit the roads, but Jean-Claude Kihn, President of Goodyear EMEA, said in a press release that he hopes the concept "serves as inspiration for the automotive industry as we continue to find solutions for the future, together."

Watch the video above to see how the Eagle-360 tire is designed to operate in the real world.

[h/t Market Wired]

By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
Photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Purchased for $10, Could Be Worth Millions
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons
By Ben Wittick (1845–1903) - Brian Lebel's Old West Show and Auction, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

Several years ago, Randy Guijarro paid $2 for a few old photographs he found in an antiques shop in Fresno, California. In 2015, it was determined that one of those photos—said to be the second verified picture ever found of Billy the Kid—could fetch the lucky thrifter as much as $5 million. That story now sounds familiar to Frank Abrams, a lawyer from North Carolina who purchased his own photo of the legendary outlaw at a flea market in 2011. It turns out that the tintype, which he paid $10 for, is thought to be an image of Billy and Pat Garrett (the sheriff who would eventually kill him) taken in 1880. Like Guijarro’s find, experts say Abrams’s photo could be worth millions.

The discovery is as much a surprise to Abrams as anyone. As The New York Times reports, what drew Abrams to the photo was the fact that it was a tintype, a metal photographic image that was popular in the Wild West. Abrams didn’t recognize any of the men in the image, but he liked it and hung it on a wall in his home, which is where it was when an Airbnb guest joked that it might be a photo of Jesse James. He wasn’t too far off.

Using Google as his main research tool, Abrams attempted to find out if there was any famous face in that photo, and quickly realized that it was Pat Garrett. According to The New York Times:

Then, Mr. Abrams began to wonder about the man in the back with the prominent Adam’s apple. He eventually showed the tintype to Robert Stahl, a retired professor at Arizona State University and an expert on Billy the Kid.

Mr. Stahl encouraged Mr. Abrams to show the image to experts.

William Dunniway, a tintype expert, said the photograph was almost certainly taken between 1875 and 1880. “Everything matches: the plate, the clothing, the firearm,” he said in a phone interview. Mr. Dunniway worked with a forensics expert, Kent Gibson, to conclude that Billy the Kid and Mr. Garrett were indeed pictured.

Abrams, who is a criminal defense lawyer, described the process of investigating the history of the photo as akin to “taking on the biggest case you could ever imagine.” And while he’s thrilled that his epic flea market find could produce a major monetary windfall, don’t expect to see the image hitting the auction block any time soon. 

"Other people, they want to speculate from here to kingdom come,” Abrams told The New York Times of how much the photo, which he has not yet had valuated, might be worth. “I don’t know what it’s worth. I love history. It’s a privilege to have something like this.”

[h/t: The New York Times]

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