One often hears the phrase "Reinventing the wheel," but it's a much rarer occurrence for someone to actually do so...
Way back in the mists of time, folks used wooden logs as rollers to move heavy objects like rocks from one place to another. After a while, some ancient genius had the idea of creating wheels mounted on an axle.
My personal belief is that this mastermind was one of my ancestors* – let's call him "Max the First". Unfortunately, he never took out a patent on this concept, but in the role of his representative I'd be more than happy to accept $10 from anyone who has ever ridden on a wheeled transportation device (roller skates/blades, bicycle, automobile, etc.)
*Note: Actually, when you come to think about it, it's quite possible that the creator of the wheel really was one of my forebears, because it occurred so long ago that most everyone on the planet could probably legitimately claim some kinship to this unsung hero.
Generally speaking, the first folks to really reinvent the wheel were the ones who created wooden hoops (possibly bound in a metal rim) with spokes. In this vein, the next folks who can claim something substantial in this regard would be the Michelin brothers (André and Edouard) who transformed the wooden car wheel in 1895 by adding a rubber tire.
Well, it seems like the Michelin company has done it again, because they've created something called the Active Wheel System in which two motors (one for propulsion and the other for an integrated suspension system), sit inside the wheel's hub.
Who would have "thunk" it? I must admit that I'd been planning in reinventing the wheel myself one day, but I was thinking more in terms of painting it a different color...
Questions? Comments? Feel free to email me – Clive "Max" Maxfield – at email@example.com). And, of course, if you haven't already done so, don't forget to Sign Up for our weekly Programmable Logic DesignLine Newsletter.