Electrolux Design Lab, the annual design competition that asks design students to envision the future of product design, is coming into the home stretch for this year. Some 1700 entrants from around the world have been winnowed down into just eight finalists, through three rounds of judging, with the winner to be announced on October 16th.
This year's EDL was a little different in that the categories were opened up a bit, expanding beyond appliances into accessories, consumables or services. Still, two out of our three finalist faves still fall into the appliance category.
First up is the ballet-dancer-inspired 3F (for "Form Follows Function"), a shape-shifting vacuum cleaner by Germain Verbrackel, an ID student at France's Ecole de Design Nantes Atlantique:
It is designed to economise space in compact and urban apartments; thanks to its autonomous mobility and capacity for physical metamorphosis, -3F- is a living product, responsive to its consumer's needs.
ID student Adraian Perez Zapata from Colombia's Universidad San Buenaventura Medellín and Universidad Pontificia Bolivariana turns dronophobia on its head. Zapata's Mab concept is "an automated cleaning system consisting of hundreds of mini-robots who will clean all surfaces giving magic to daily activities:"
More details from Zapata on how this crazy thing would work:
Mab is a self cleaning system consisting of 908 robots which clean the surface of a floor with a drop touching and trapping the dirt particles on the floor. These robots also fulfill the task of feeding the system energy by capturing solar energy in its wings. The second component of the Mab is the core, which the robots returns to, and this central part handles multiple tasks: it generates the mixture of water with an additive that gives higher surface tension and a pleasant odor to the water; it is controlling the robot based on information they are providing of the environment; receiving contaminated droplets and filters it to remove the dirt from the water, saving the highest percentage possible and cleans its walking surfaces.
Ironicallly, the people who need this most—pet owners—would probably be witness to an amusing melee each time they turned Mab on, as their cats/dogs attempted to down all the drones.
Finally we're digging this non-appliance concept by Wei Kiat Law, a product design student at Singapore,'s Nanyang Technological University. His OZ-1 concept is a personal air purifier, something like HEPA jewelry:
Law posits the device would remove cigarette smoke, allowing non-smokers to mingle with Marlboro men. Then there's the secondary aromatherapy functionality, something like Zoloft without having to pop the pill:
Aromatherapy becomes an essential tool for a fast moving society where stress is something we cannot avoid in our daily life. Our olfactory system and brain are closely related; the aromatherapy perfumes are able to affect and alter a person's moods.
The EDL jury is currently engaged in the fourth round of judging. But while picking the winner is out of all of our hands, anyone can vote on their favorite finalist for the People's Choice Awards. Check 'em all out here.