While the Blue Devils are still dancing in the March Madness tournament, A Duke University startup has cracked the code to monitoring the real-time tread wear of tires on the road. Tyrata, Inc. has partnered with several investors, including Dealer Tire, LLC to launch its product to retailers and the public.
Who is Tyrata, Inc.?
Tyrata, Inc. has previously perfected its sensor technology and now the $4.5 million investment will assist the startup in turning the technology into a market product for large-scale manufacturing.
Led by Aaron Franklin, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering and chemistry at Duke, the group’s goal is to create cutting-edge technology that enables motorists to drive with safer tires.
“With all the technology and sensors 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,” Franklin said. “Our tire tread sensor is the perfect marriage between high-end technology and a simple solution.”
What does this means for motorists?
Once this technology is on the market and built into vehicles, information on tire tread will be readily available. Measuring tire tread is very important. Tread provides a tire its ability to grip the road. Additionally, it assists in creating sharper turns, accelerating smoothly and braking quickly. It can even be linked to maximizing fuel economy.
How does the technology work?
It relies on the mechanics of how electric fields interact with different materials. The core of the sensor is formed by placing two small electrodes very close to each other. By applying an oscillating electrical voltage to one and grounding the other, an electric field forms between the electrodes. While most of this electric field passes directly between the two electrodes, some of the field arcs between them. When a material is placed on top of the electrodes, it interferes with this so-called “fringing field.” By measuring this interference through the electrical response of the grounded electrode, it is possible to determine the thickness of the material covering the sensor.
For more info on the project, visit Duke’s page.