SnapSkan speed bumps will scan your tires, tell you when they're bald

Way too many drivers are unaware of the condition of their tires. That’s a major problem because degraded tires with low tread depth makes a car far more prone to aquaplaning, while also increasing its braking distance — making it more dangerous for both the driver and other road users alike.

That’s a problem that Finnish tire company Nokian is trying to solve. Together with car service chain Vianor, it’s developed a smart new service that uses laser-scanning 3D technology to measure the tread depth of car tires. It’ll even SMS you a free report.

“The ultimate goal of the service is to make roads safer for everyone,” Ville Nikkola, Nokian’s head of retail business, told Digital Trends. “Once the drivers know the condition of their tires and understand better the relation between tire condition and road safety we are able to influence road safety more than ever before.”

Currently one of Nokian’s speed bump-style SnapSkan units has been fitted at an undercard car park in Helsinki. Others are set to follow in similarly high traffic areas. As drivers (not just Nokian customers) pass over them, the SnapSkan units automatically measure tire tread, while a camera will records the car license plate. If the driver then requests information via a free text message, Nokian sends out a report — plus a quote for new tires from a nearby dealership if required.

It’s a great way of drumming up business, while also offering a genuinely useful public service.

“We have paid a lot of attention to create [a] unique, meaningful and understandable way to communicate the scanning results and to tell what it really means in practice,” Nikkola continued.

Don’t worry if you don’t live in Finland, either, as there is every chance that the SnapSkan technology will roll out elsewhere before too long. “At the moment we are analyzing the demand and potential in all core markets of Nokian and we are preparing the global execution plans early next [year],” Nikkola said.

Cars

Bosch, Daimler team up to deploy autonomous Mercedes-Benz S-Classes in San Jose

In 1986, when Bosch and Daimler joined an autonomous car research project, the technology seemed overly futuristic. Now, the partners are aiming to make a production self-driving car by the early 2020s.
Cars

Prep your car for the coming snow and sleet with these cold weather tips

Driving in the winter, whether downtown or across the country, is rarely easy. Luckily, we've put together a quick rundown of a few things you should do to winterize your car before the snow officially hits.
Cars

Born to run (forever): The most reliable cars you can buy right now

We all dread the thought of our car turning into a money pit, but choosing a dependable vehicle from the start can help us rack up countless care-free miles. Here, we've rounded up some of the most reliable cars available.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Emerging Tech

Alibaba’s Singles’ Day sale smashes online shopping records

The annual online shopping frenzy that is Singles' Day this year raked in $30.8 billion, up from $25 billion last time around. The Alibaba-organized event generates more in sales than Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.
Emerging Tech

Watch this lab-grown heart tissue beat just like the real thing

A team of researchers in Germany have used stem cells to create a lab-grown human heart tissue which actually beats, as well as responding to drugs in the same way as the real thing.
Emerging Tech

Michigan’s former transportation chief has some advice for wannabe smart cities

After 31 years as Michigan’s transportation director, Kirk Steudle has seen it all, particularly with smart city projects. He spoke with Digital Trends recently about what makes smart cities work, and offers advice along the way.
Emerging Tech

Shipping crate filled with 3D-printing robots may be the future of construction

Autodesk has created a robot-filled shipping container which may represent the future of construction work. The crate contains two robots able to 3D print custom components for building sites.
Emerging Tech

Sticking these tiny needles in your eye may help fight blindness

An eye patch covered in tiny needles sounds like a torture device. In fact, it's a potential new medical treatment for eye diseases like glaucoma and macular degeneration. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Bottle-flipping robots may be the most millennial thing we’ve ever seen

Until drones start vaping, you're unlikely to see anything more millennial than a recent contest in Japan in which robots competed to pull off some seriously impressive bottle-flipping feats.
Emerging Tech

New simulation shows how Elon Musk’s internet satellite network might work

Elon Musk has the dream of building a network for conveying internet traffic via thousands of satellites. A new simulation created by a computer scientist looks at how feasible the idea is.
Cars

Car parts maker ZF is using drones to deliver components to its factories

ZF recently became the first entity in Germany to receive approval to use drones to deliver spare parts, and the company now uses them to deliver parts from its central warehouses to its workshops.
Emerging Tech

Meet the 4K selfie drone that folds like a book, follows you like a paparrazzo

Having a drone that could follow you everywhere while taking high-quality images without crashing has been a flight of fantasy. With ZeroZero's Hover 2, not only can you have a fully autonomous 4K selfie drone, you can have it for $400.
Emerging Tech

These Alexa-stuffed retro phones don’t listen until you take them off the hook

Looking for an Amazon Echo with a cool vintage touch? Los Angeles-based Grain Design is taking old, non-working antique phones and transforming them into amazing Alexa smart speakers.