Image of the 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale.
Photo: Ferrari

The late Enzo Ferrari would have been flabbergasted to learn that the fastest road-going car in Ferrari history would have a plug. “Dai!," he might have said.

That cord connection lets the SF90 Stradale and SF90 Spider convertible—the company's first plug-in hybrids—cruise for 25 kilometers (15.5miles) on electricity alone, perhaps for a commute through smoggy Rome, where diesel cars have already been banned during pollution emergencies. This voluptuous mid-engine Ferrari also shuts down its twin-turbo, 769-horsepower V-8 whenever it's in reverse. Let's face it: If you need the turbo when you're in reverse, you need to reevaluate some of your life choices.

With its 735-kilowatt (986-horsepower) punch of gasoline and electricity, the Stradale gets from 0 to 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) in 2.5 seconds, and sets a record 79-second lap around the fabled Fiorano circuit in Maranello, Italy, where the company is headquartered. Making all that possible is a trio of electric motors, including one for each front wheel, for precise control of all-wheel-drive traction and a combined power boost of 161-kW (217 hp). The third motor is sandwiched between the engine and a spectacular dual-clutch, eight-speed automated gearbox derived from Ferrari's Formula 1 cars. All of the motors get nourishment from a 6.5 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery.

Base price:

US $511,250

Ferrari's steering-wheel manettino (Italian for “little switch") summons any one of four driving modes, from an eDrive setting with exclusively front-wheel power and zero tailpipe emissions, to a new Qualify setting that releases the Kraken.

A brake-by-wire unit blends regenerative energy capture with hydraulic force administered through the physical pedal. A new electronic Side Slip Control system brings sensor-based distribution of power to all four wheels, allowing for torque vectoring on the front electric motors. Think of it as a digital helping hand, a boon to the amateur who might struggle to exit corners at high power without spinning out of control.

All that hybrid gear adds 270 kilograms of weight, but Ferrari engineers lightened the car elsewhere, using an all-carbon-fiber bulkhead, titanium components, and two new aluminum alloys. The resulting weight-to-power ratio of 468 watts per kilogram sets a new company record.

Aerodynamics are another highlight, with Ferrari claiming a class high of 390 kg of downforce at 250 km/h, aided by front-vortex generators, an active rear wing, and “blown geometry" wheels, which use rotor wings to manage the flow of air.

The SF90's fantastical cabin gets the first all-digital instruments and interfaces in a Ferrari, including a dramatic 16-inch HD screen that curls toward the driver for easier readability.

While the old days are fading, the electric age will surely add some charms of its own.

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No More Invasive Surgery—This Pacemaker Dissolves Instead

Temporary pacemakers are often vital but dangerous to remove when their jobs are done

3 min read
Animated gif of a device with a coil on one end dissolving between days 1 and 60.

The transient pacemaker, developed at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Ill., harmlessly dissolves in the patient's body over time.

Northwestern University

After having cardiovascular surgery, many patients require a temporary pacemaker to help stabilize their heart rate. The device consists of a pulse generator, one or more insulated wires, and an electrode at the end of each wire.

The pulse generator—a metal case that contains electronic circuitry with a small computer and a battery—regulates the impulses sent to the heart. The wire is connected to the pulse generator on one end while the electrode is placed inside one of the heart’s chambers.

But there are several issues with temporary pacemakers: The generator limits the patient’s mobility, and the wires must be surgically removed, which can cause complications such as infection, dislodgment, torn or damaged tissues, bleeding, and blood clots.

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iRobot CEO Colin Angle on Data Privacy and Robots in the Home

In light of Amazon’s recent acquisition, we revisit our 7 September 2017 Q&A with iRobot’s CEO

8 min read
iRobot CEO Colin Angle.
iRobot CEO Colin Angle.
Photo: iRobot

Editor’s note: Last week, Amazon announced that it was acquiring iRobot for $1.7 billion, prompting questions about how iRobot’s camera-equipped robot vacuums will protect the data that they collect about your home. In September of 2017, we spoke with iRobot CEO Colin Angle about iRobot’s approach to data privacy, directly addressing many similar concerns. “The views expressed in the Q&A from 2017 remain true,” iRobot told us. “Over the past several years, iRobot has continued to do more to strengthen, and clearly define, its stance on privacy and security. It’s important to note that iRobot takes product security and customer privacy very seriously. We know our customers invite us into their most personal spaces—their homes—because they trust that our products will help them do more. We take that trust seriously."

The article from 7 September 2017 follows:

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GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

Understand the safety mechanisms in an automotive-ready GPIO IP library suite to detect the faults in GPIO cells

1 min read
GPIOs: Critical IP for Functional Safety Applications

The prevalence and complexity of electronics and software in automotive applications are increasing with every new generation of cars. The critical functions within the system on a chip (SoC) involve hardware and software that perform automotive-related signal communication at high data rates to and from the components off-chip. Every SoC includes general purpose IOs (GPIOs) on its periphery.

For automotive SoCs, GPIO IP is typically developed as Safety Element out of Context and delivered with a set of Assumptions of Use. It is important that the GPIO blocks are treated as a safety related logic. In this role, GPIOs need safety analysis to mitigate any faults occurring in them before the result of fault occurrence causes a system-wide failure.

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