ANTi Slip Tires
By: Julie Storch
Driving in a Winter Wonderland
This year, get yourself tires that allow you to get out of the house and drive in those conditions. ANTi Slip Tires provide optimal diving performance on ice and snow. Engineers worked to create a chemical compound within the tread rubber that mimics the hairs and suction cups found on the feet of ants and other insects. Those hairs and suction cups allow the ants to walk and climb across any smooth surface. Engineers also constructed the specially designed tires with a tread pattern penetrating through the rubber that allows better grip and control when driving in the winter conditions, without worrying that the hairs and cups will become worn or fall off. ANTi Slip Tires look like your average tire but when road conditions become slushy, the tires activate the ant-like "hairs" that will enhance your car's traction to prevent hydroplaning or sliding, as well as, provides more control of the car when accelerating, stopping and turning on ice.
ANTi Slip Tires has a variety of designs and sizes to help more than cars drive on snow or ice. People in wheel chairs will be able to safely travel on sidewalks and pathways with these tires. In addition, companies that operate machinery on hills or steep declines can use ANTi Slip Tires to improve traction and control. This is for safety in any weather since winter weather permits anyone from cutting the grass or other lawn care.
Here you see an outside view of ANTi Slip Tires. It looks like any ordinary tire, but once the vehicle senses a surface that needs additional support, the hairs like features activate and release the suction cups to create a safer travel.
Here you see the first prototype. Engineers created tires with a "hair" feature that mimics the hairs found on the leg and foot of an ant. Although there was more traction, the tires still slipped.
To build from the first prototype, engineers created a new model that had little suction-like cups that activated on smooth/ slippery surfaces. The new feature increased traction and more control of the vehicle.
ANTi Slip Tires- Final Product
"A Sticky Situation"
Did you know ants have claws or suction cups? Ants physical characteristics are more complex than what the naked eye can see. According to researchers at University of Massachusetts' Biologist, Elizabeth Brainerd, the suction cups are located on the claws and are what enables ants to crawl up vertical walls or manage to critter across the ceiling without falling off. After extensive studying and observation, Brainerd concluded, "If the claws are unable to catch onto the surface, they retract and the footpad comes into action. The footpad quickly unfolds and inflates with blood, protruding between the claws and enabling the adhesive pad to stick to the surface". Ants move quickly for their size, how can that be possible? The footpads, also known as arolium, then deflate and the process continues with every step and takes less than hundredths of a second. That is faster than the blink of an eye. Ants also leave a fluid that helps keep itself enacted with the smooth surface. Brainerd compared it to a wet piece of paper stuck to a window. Other researchers have discovered that "the claw-flexor tendon not only retracts the claws on a smooth surface, but is responsible for moving the footpad into place. The system, a combination of mechanics and hydraulics, has intrigued robotics engineers who design tiny robotic devices used in the medical field" (Brainerd, 2001).
Elizabeth Brainerd. "A Sticky Situation For Ants And Bees: UMass Biologist Looks At How These Insects Adhere To Various Surfaces." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 September 2001. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/09/010928071138.htm>.