Flying mini-robot cleaners win Electrolux Design Lab 2013 Contest

What does the future of the home hold? Flying mini-robot cleaners, expanding walls that filter the air and 3D food printers are just some of the visions in the Electrolux Design Lab competition, arranged now for the 11th consecutive year. The flying robot concept “Mab” was awarded first prize in competition finals at the Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

The winning concept, by Adrian Perez Zapata from Colombia, is an automated cleaning system consisting of hundreds of flying mini-robots. The robots clean surfaces by touching them with a drop of water. Mab scans the house, determine the areas to clean and sends the robots flying.

“I was in my university gardens when I observed the controlled flight of bees pollinating a flower, and how magical it is to see swarms of bees working together,” Perez Zapata said. “My concept Mab only requires a short initial configuration to function autonomously, so you could arrive home and see a swarm of mini-robots roaming around cleaning independently. This means you could sit back and relax, as you observe with great astonishment the little Mab ‘fairies’ working their magic autonomously.”

“This year’s winning concept renews the idea of looking at the robot, seeing it not as one unit that mimics a person, but instead as something inspired by the magical logic of nature’s collaborative efforts and group intelligence,” said Stefano Marzano, Chief Design Officer at Electrolux and Head of Jury. “The Mab is an innovative concept which could be relevant to minimize the daily cleanings efforts of consumers as well as businesses, while maximizing the results”

Second prize in the competition went to the Atomium 3D food printer, by Luiza Silva from Brazil, for a concept that “addresses the global issue of adopting healthy lifestyles and countering chronic diseases, with inspiration from the playfulness and creativity of children.” Third prize went to Jeabyun Yeon from Korea for Breathing Wall. The jury’s motivation was: “The Breathing Wall creates a relevant discussion about a future business model which is not just about making the appliances, but about generating propositions that could bring a poetic quality into the construction industry.”

People’s Choice Award went to Mab after receiving over 40% of the 4 391 public votes on the Design Lab website.

First step towards a design career

The idea of the design competition is to stimulate and activate design students on a global level by inviting them to present breakthrough ideas for future household environments and to function as an innovative arena for the introduction of new talents. First prize is 5,000 euros and a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design center. Second prize is 3,000 euros, third prize is 2,000 euros and the People’s Choice Award prize is 1,000 euros.

Theme of the year, Inspired Urban Living

The theme of Design Lab 2013 was Inspired Urban Living. The city of tomorrow is short on space, busy and compact. Living areas are smaller; there is less storage but the home still needs to be the epicentre of entertaining and culinary enjoyment. The competitors were asked to submit concepts for products, accessories, consumables and services that would be seen as a breakthrough within the sector of Social Cooking, Natural Air or Effortless Cleaning.

Over 1 700 submissions from over 60 countries around the world took part in the competition in 2013. The competition was conducted in five stages, allowing the applicants to concentrate on different areas throughout the process; submitting an idea and a sketch, concept development, visual development, functionality development and the final event presentation. Over 100 best concepts were chosen to take part in the competition to develop their concepts further and to be evaluated by Electrolux professionals from Design, R&D and Marketing Innovation. Each concept could be voted for by the public and the ones that received the most votes received direct access to the next round.

The Design Lab 2013 jury, comprising Stefano Marzano, Hideshi Hamaguchi, Design Strategist at Yanko Design, and Pio Barone Lumaga, Editor-in-Chief of LOFT Bookazine, selected the winner from eight global finalists.

“Creating new value and propositions is what innovative design is all about and Design Lab is one of the ways through which we at Electrolux can explore new ideas,” said Stefano Marzano. “All design solutions that enhance the lifestyles and living environments of our consumers are relevant for us to explore. This is why in Design Lab 2013 we are presenting not only products but also accessories, consumables and services within three key focus areas for future households; cooking, cleaning and air cleaning.”

Electrolux Design Lab themes throughout the years

2003  – User Driven Solutions
2004  – Designs of the Future
2005  – Designs of the Future
2006  – Designs for Healthy Eating
2007  – Green Designs
2008  – The Internet Generation
2009  – Design for the Next 90 Years
2010  – The 2nd Space Age
2011  – Intelligent Mobility
2012  – Experience Design
2013  – Inspired Urban Living

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For further information

Contact Electrolux Press Hotline, +46 8 657 65 07.