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At a 2020 NASA program for entrepreneurs, Earl Cole and Brian Yennie learned about an unusual metal alloy called nitinol, which the agency used to build airless wheels tough enough to roll over the rocky surfaces of the moon or Mars. Intrigued, Cole, now CEO of the SMART Tire Co., and Yennie, its CTO, developed an airless bicycle wheel made from a spiral largely made of nitinol. The tire, set to ship next year, will never go flat, and “actually could last the life of your vehicle,” says Cole, if you replace the cheap rubber tread on the exterior as it wears down.

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