I’m not ashamed to admit that I have developed an emotional connection to my Roomba robotic floor vacuum. It’s like a little pet scurrying about the house and I find myself greeting it when it rolls noisily into the room picking up bits of dog hair and couscous. That’s why I’m particularly intrigued by today’s announcement that the flying robot concept Mab, designed by 23-year-old industrial design student Adrian Perez Zapata of Colombia, was named the winner of the 2013 Electrolux Design Lab Competition.
This year Electrolux’s design competition encouraged design students to incorporate solutions to “Social Cooking”, “Effortless Cleaning,” and “Natural Air” into everyday appliances in the home. After being chosen by a jury as one of eight finalists from more than 1,700 submissions across 60 countries, Zapata’s Mab was selected as the best ground-breaking design solution of the future. Mab is an automated cleaning system consisting of hundreds of flying mini-robots that clean surfaces by touching them with a drop of water. The system first scans the house, determines the areas to clean and then sends the robots flying. Imagine if you could hook those robots up to your house’s alarm system. They could attack an intruder or teach your teenager sneaking in past curfew a lesson.
Zapata, who was also named the winner of the People’s Choice award, was awarded 5,000 euros and a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design center of his choice. Luisa Silva of Brazil was named the second place winner for the Atomium 3D food printer, and Jeabyun Yeon of Korea won third place winner for the Breathing Wall air cleaning concept.