2021’s Top Ten Tech Cars: Polestar 2

Volvo’s new EV brand goes full Android

1 min read
Image of the 2021 Polestar 2 vehicle.
Photo: Polestar

The Polestar 2, the first offering from Volvo's new electric brand, breaks little ground in electric mobility. But its pioneering infotainment tech will soon become a staple of millions of cars around the globe.

Base price:

US $63,000

Polestar's milestone is Android Automotive OS, an open-source system that's essentially a declaration of surrender from automakers. Sure, automakers will still put their own spin on this stuff, but they seem to have given up their fierce resistance to the incursion of Google, Apple, or other disrupters into their sacrosanct vehicle interiors.

In its Scandinavian-sleek cabin, the Polestar 2 houses nearly every user control—Android-powered navigation, search, apps, and entertainment—on a tablet-style 11-inch touch screen. The cloud-based interface allows users to safely rely on voice or steering-wheel commands for Google Maps, Assistant, and Play Store while leaving their smartphone in a pocket or even switched off. It all works beautifully, especially for people whose emails, playlists, address books, and calendars are already bound up in the Google ecosystem and cloud.

Best of all, as cars age, instead of becoming a dinosaur in the dash (eight-track, anyone?) the Android Automotive stays forever young, updating as easily as any phone app. The lure and logic are obvious. That's why General Motors, Stellantis (the newly merged Fiat Chrysler and PSA Group), and the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance are all on board, and will bring Android Automotive to their lineups over the next two years. Eventually, it's likely that all new cars will support both Android Auto and Apple's CarPlay, so regardless of which kind of smartphone you have, your car will work with it seamlessly.

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Being More Inclusive Is Paying Off for This IEEE Society

The Instrumentation & Measurement Society saw double-digit growth

6 min read
Illustration of a world map with icons of people over different land masses of the map.

Small changes made over time can lead to big results, the saying goes. A great example of that is the concerted effort the IEEE Instrumentation and Measurement Society started more than two decades ago to become a more welcoming and inclusive environment for women and members from outside the United States. Since 2012, the society has increased the number of female members by more than 60 percent. And more articles are now submitted from authors in China, India, and Italy than from North America.

“We tackled one diversity factor at a time,” says IEEE Senior Member Ferdinanda Ponci, the society’s liaison to IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE), a position established more than 10 years ago to coordinate joint activities and programs.

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When They Electrified Christmas

It all started with 80 bulbs strung on a New York City tree

7 min read
An ornament of a head with weathered paint on the face.

Decorative light bulbs, like this 1925 two-faced doll's head, became popular as electrification spread in the early 20th century.

Division of Cultural and Community Life/National Museum of American History/Smithsonian Institution

In much of the world, December is a month of twinkling lights. Whether for religious or secular celebrations, the variety and functionality of lights have exploded in recent years, abetted by cheap and colorful LEDs and compact electronics. Homeowners can illuminate the eaves with iridescent icicles, shroud their shrubs with twinkling mesh nets, or mount massive menorahs on their minivans.

But decorative lights aren't new. On 22 December 1882, Edward H. Johnson, vice president of the Edison Electric Light Co., debuted electric Christmas lights when he lit up 80 hand-wired bulbs on a tree in the parlor of his New York City home. Johnson opted for red, white, and blue bulbs, and he mounted the tree on a revolving box. As the tree turned, the lights blinked on and off, creating a "continuous twinkling of dancing colors," as William Croffut reported in the Detroit Post and Tribune. (Croffut's account and many other wonderful facts about the history of decorative lights are available on the website Old Christmas Tree Lights.)

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EP29LPSP: Applications in Plasma Physics, Astronomy, and Highway Engineering

Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K

3 min read

Since its introduction in 1978, Master Bond EP29LPSP has been the epoxy compound of choice in a variety of challenging applications. Ideal for demanding cryogenic environments, two-part EP29LPSP can withstand temperatures as low as 4K and can resist cryogenic shock when, for instance, it is cooled from room temperature to cryogenic temperatures within a 5-10 minute window. Optically clear EP29LPSP has superior physical strength, electrical insulation, and chemical resistance properties. It also meets NASA low outgassing requirements and exhibits a low exotherm during cure. This low viscosity compound is easy to apply and bonds well to metals, glass, ceramics, and many different plastics. Curable at room temperature, EP29LPSP attains its best results when cured at 130-165°F for 6-8 hours.

In over a dozen published research articles, patents, and manufacturers' specifications, scientists and engineers have identified EP29LPSP for use in their applications due to its unparalleled performance in one or more areas. Table 1 highlights several commercial and research applications that use Master Bond EP29LPSP. Table 2 summarizes several patents that reference EP29LPSP. Following each table are brief descriptions of the role Master Bond EP29LPSP plays in each application or invention.

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