New Tech: Rhinotire Offers Flat-Proof Radial, Personal Airbag System Could Replace Bicycle Helmets

A recent innovation in tire technology may make flat tires a thing of the past. Rhinotire has developed a process for coating tires with the goal of preventing flats caused by nails and road debris, The Detroit News reports. The New Jersey-based company also claims its process increases fuel mileage, lengthens tire life, and reduces tire noise. Elsewhere in the world, an airbag system is being developed to potentially replace the bicycle helmet.

The Rhinotire process coats the inside of a tire’s tread with a proprietary polymer lining. The procedure was developed in Hungary, where engineers spent 10 years figuring out how to avoid flat tires. American distributor for Rhinotire Kevin Fields told The Detroit News the polymer seals puncture through the tread, and keep the tire cooler. Other claimed benefits include an increase in fuel economy by as much as 10 percent, reduction in tire noise by as much as 30 decibels, more even tire pressure, and as much as 25-percent longer tire life.

Fields said the process only adds about a pound of weight per tire, and that a major international tire manufacturer will use the technology in many of its tires in the future. Currently, Rhinotire’s headquarters in New Jersey is the only North American location with the equipment to apply the liner, but other facilities are planned in other areas. A set of tires can be shipped to the plant, where a lining is applied at a cost of around $75 to $100 depending on size. Coated tires are then shipped back to the customer for installation.

Meanwhile, a very different kind of technology is being developed in Sweden. Called the invisible bicycle helmet, this personal airbag device is worn around a rider’s neck as a proposed replacement for a conventional helmet. The safety device was conceived by Anna Haupt and Terese Alstin, who wanted a fashionable and effective alternative to a bike helmet. Their solution somewhat resembles a jacket collar that’s been zipped up to the top. In an accident, an airbag deploys over the wearer’s head, covering the ears and extending past the brow. Check out the video below to see the helmet in action.

Source: The Detroit News, Focus Forward Films via Vimeo

The Invisible Bicycle Helmet | Fredrik Gertten from Focus Forward Films on Vimeo.

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