Hey there, human — the robots need you! Vote for IEEE’s Robots Guide in the Webby Awards.

Close bar

Reinventing the Wheel

1 min read

Reinventing the Wheel

To prevent rollover accidents, new cars sold in the United States since 2004 have been outfitted with tire-­pressure monitors that warn the driver when tires are going flat. But the battery-­powered ­initial version of the technology has proved expensive. A consortium of tire ­manufacturers hopes to cut the cost. It’s testing a sensor embedded in the tires that needs no battery and can radio pressure data from the tire to electronics inside the car. The secret is a cheap, coin-size device called a PZT bimorph that harvests energy from the tire’s motion via a miniature piezoelectric springboard. The tire makers are working with EoPlex Technologies, in Redwood City, Calif., which has tuned its three-­dimensional printing technology to construct the complex devices on the cheap. If the new power source passes its multiyear tests, carmakers may start to use wireless sensors to cut back on the ­kilometers of wiring in today’s cars. For more, see /feb08/bimorph.

This article is for IEEE members only. Join IEEE to access our full archive.

Join the world’s largest professional organization devoted to engineering and applied sciences and get access to all of Spectrum’s articles, podcasts, and special reports. Learn more →

If you're already an IEEE member, please sign in to continue reading.

Membership includes:

  • Get unlimited access to IEEE Spectrum content
  • Follow your favorite topics to create a personalized feed of IEEE Spectrum content
  • Save Spectrum articles to read later
  • Network with other technology professionals
  • Establish a professional profile
  • Create a group to share and collaborate on projects
  • Discover IEEE events and activities
  • Join and participate in discussions