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These printed sensors for car tyres could save your life

The Financial Express logo The Financial Express 18-06-2017 FE Online

Researchers at Duke University, USA have built an inexpensive way to tell a car owner when to change his/her car's tyres. A set of printed sensors, tiny cylinders of carbon atoms which can track millimetre scale changes can be installed in a tyre's tread which then signal the car owner through various wireless communication devices when to change the tyres. A technology like this would be critical for any car owner as tyre grip, especially in monsoons, can greatly affect the braking as well as handling of a vehicle.

"With all of the technology and sensors that are in today's cars, it's kind of crazy to think that there's almost no data being gathered from the only part of the vehicle that is actually touching the road," said Aaron Franklin, associate professor at Duke University.The technology is based on the fact how metallic conductors interact with electric fields and in this case, two electrodes placed very close to each other would do the job. One of the electrodes would be supplied electricity, while the other would be grounded. These sensors would be connected to, probably, a car's infotainment system which would warn the driver of an eminent tyre change. The electrodes would detect the tread depth and according to its developers, it would have an accuracy of up to 99 percent.

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According to Indian road conditions, most tyres last in the tune of 70,000 kms based on ideal driving conditions without straining the tyre in panic situations such as hard braking. A technology such as this could prove beneficial in India as it would prepare the owner of a car for the replacement of its tyres and improve safety.

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