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Design Lab Semi-Finalists: Hula Hoop Washers, Anti-Gravity Air Cleaners
Aug 17, 2012
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Semi-finalists in the 2012 Electrolux Design Lab challenge have drawn inspiration from experience creators, like professional chefs or interior designers.

Design Lab, now in its tenth year, is an annual competition run by Swedish appliance giant Electrolux. The contest asks design students from around the world to submit their ideas for appliances of the future. Thirty semi-finalists, from 20 countries on five continents, were selected to compete for a place in the final of Electrolux Design Lab 2012.

As in the past, semi-finalist design concepts are an eclectic mix. Some appear to make use of currently available technology, such as the Cruet Salt & Pepper shakers. These devices, from designer Jan Ankiersztajn of the Uniwersytet Artystyczny w Poznaniu in Poland, essentially seem to be spherical Bluetooth audio players that also dispense salt and pepper.

Other concepts appear to use no currently available technology, like the anti-gravity Aeroball (pictured top) from designer Jan Ankiersztajn, from Poland's Uniwersytet Artystyczny w Poznaniu. The designer envisions small balls that float in the air inside the home. Its utility function is cleaning the air and even providing aromatherapy. It soaks up light during the day and glows at night.

And some of the concepts seem so impractical as to be unusable. Case in point: the Hula Washer (pictured bottom) from designer Sang-Soon Lee, of South Korea's Yongin University. The user is supposed to put water, detergent and laundry into the hollow plastic ring, then spin it around the waist like a Hula Hoop. At an estimated weight of at least 15 pounds, using it would be an exercise in Olympic-level hooping.

Ten finalists will soon be chosen to compete in the final event, to be held in Milan, Italy on Oct. 25, 2012.

Finalists in Milan will each present their individual concept to a jury of design experts. The jury will judge entries based on intuitive design, innovation, aesthetic qualities, and consumer insight. The jury will award a first prize of a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design centre and 5,000 Euros. The jury will also award a second prize of 3,000 Euros and third prize of 2,000 Euros.

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