Professor Gary Krutz was tired of having to replace tires on his daughter and son-in law's car after 10,000 miles of use. So Krutz and graduate research assistants at Purdue University developed a “smart” tire that senses problems before it goes flat or loses air.

Krutz says traditional tire sensing systems detect low air pressure or unbalanced pressure between tires but fall short of alerting drivers of problems unrelated to improper inflation. The smart tire uses the concept that the entire tire is the sensor. Measurements are taken on the tread and the layers beneath it to detect damage caused by cuts, punctures, manufacturing defects, rubber hardening, over-deflection, impact, or improper mounting or repair. Signals are sent to on-board computers for processing.