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Tires are no longer destined to life in an abandoned mountain of black rubber. These days artists are creating abstract images and fabulous sculptures from the would-be trash. Designers are making fun rubber tube furniture and tread embossed floor coverings. The fashion world has even taken to recycling old tires into handbags, water-proof sandals and hip sneakers.

Actual tire innovations in automotive manufacturing include everything from self-inflating versions and computerized tires that improve wheel alignment, to graphically designed bike tires that reflect light for style and safety and even ones with Hello Kitty treads.

There all here and more, black rubber has never been more exciting.