Every year, Electrolux invites industrial design students worldwide to design appliances that will help shape how consumers think about cooking, cleaning, and storing food and other items around the home. At stake for the 2009 competition is an internship at an Electrolux design center and a cash prize. This year, contestants were asked to design appliances that will change the way we live over the next 90 years, allowing for personalization, learning, and time constraints.
As is the trend every year, the finalists have developed some astonishingly beautiful and innovative concepts. The group of eight finalists will battle it out at the September 24 finals, but for those interested in voting for the people's choice award, here is the run down of the top designs, in random order:
- Le Petit Prince by Martin Miklica of Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic is a robotic greenhouse that's designed to facilitate our move to inhabiting Mars. The robot will care for a plant inside its mounted glass dome and will also have the capability to communicate with other robots in the area.
- Naturewash by Zhenpeng Li of Zhejiang University in China is a horizontal bed that uses negative ions to clean and refresh clothing. The user can choose from clean clothes, grass scent, or flower scent on the touch screen, and can be refreshed by lying down on the bed or by laying clothes flat on it.
- The Cocoon by Rickard Hederstierna of the Lund Institute of Technology in Sweden is a pod designed to cook meat and fish. RFID (radio frequency identification) signals are used to identify the type of prepackaged meat or fish dish that's inserted into the Cocoon, which responds by heating muscle cells in the meat according to a preprogrammed time. The Cocoon is designed to counteract some of the negative effects of overfarming and food transport.
- Moléculaire by Nico Kläber of the Köln International School of Design in Germany is a computer-controlled food printer that uses the same technology used to create CNC-printed plastic parts. It accomplishes this by combining particles of various ingredients in layers that are then stacked to create 2- and 3-dimensional components of meals, relieving the chef of some of the burden.
- Renew by Louis Filosa at Purdue University is a wall-mounted steam cleaner that eliminates the need for a 75 percent larger washing machine. RFID signals are transmitted from specially designed tags in clothes as they're passed through the double blades, controlling the blast of steam. It's also made from recycled aluminum and glass.
- Teleport Fridge by Dulyawat Wongnawa at Chulalongkorn University in Thailand functions just like you would expect it to, teleporting food directly into your refrigerator compartments. It uses touch-screen technology to let you pick the items you're low on, and at the touch of a button, they come right to you.
- Water Catcher by Penghao Shan by Zhejiang Sci-tech University in China is an automated water collection system. Flying balls are dispatched from a homing tray to collect rainwater, which is purified on their return and taken directly to the drinker. Modifications can be made independently for each user to fill in nutritional gaps or mineral deficiencies.
- Bifoliate by Toma Brundzaite at the Vilnius Academy of Art in Lithuania is a double-chambered dishwasher that eliminates the need to put away clean dishes. It has a door that toggles between the two chambers, allowing one to be a receptacle for dirty dishes and the other to act as a shelf for clean ones.
To see all of the finalists and vote on your favorite, you can visit the Electrolux Design Lab Web site here.