Nowadays it seems like everything is getting smarter. Smart phones, smart refrigerators, and now smarter wheels for cars. A car wheel with a “brain”? The idea comes from a company out of south Florida called Intelligent Power & Light, which aims its new technology squarely at the wheel. Founders of the company believe a smarter wheel for cars is inevitable and have developed the platform to prove it.
They call it “IntelliGens”. The device has a universal design that can be installed on an ordinary car wheel. It attaches to the wheel by replacing the centre cap with a micro generator that produces electricity inside the center of the wheel. The micro generator is paired with a microprocessor that can wirelessly send and receive information via remote control or through the use of an iPhone or Android application.
The company plans on opening up the door for other developers to create smart applications for the wheel as well. The micro generator device was originally developed for the company’s “Glo Ryder” Wheel Light product. Glo Ryder provides a way for manufacturers and car enthusiasts to display their wheels at night.
According to company founders, Kurt and Lance Bartels, wheel lights were just the beginning.
The brothers say, “We knew we had the platform to power the wheel with intelligent technology but up to this point it has been battery operated. We also knew the product would never be taken seriously until we released the generator version so we have worked hard over the last few years to develop a micro generator powerful enough for present and future applications we intend to release for the wheel. We see a number of useful applications that can not only make the wheel perform better but also to allow the wheel to act as a sensor and send information to the driver via an iPhone or Android application.”
So what can a “smart” application do for the wheel? The company is currently developing applications compatible with iPhone and Android apps that will provide services for sound and light, as well as GPS locating, and monitoring tire conditions to name a few. What is interesting about the smart wheel platform is that it provides car wheels with a completely independent source of electricity with no connection to the cars electrical system. It is also component based so circuit board “Modules” can be swapped out as new applications are developed making it easily upgradeable.
So when can we expect the wheel to pass the “Turing” test? That probably won’t happen any time soon, but the company announced today that it has finished the working prototypes and launched a Kickstarter project to crowd fund the manufacturing for a first quarter 2014 delivery date.