The Mab concept sees hundreds of tiny flying robots dispersed to clean rooms autonomously

Flying cleaner robot swarm wins design award

A swarm of flying mini-robots that clean your house has won an international design competition.

The concept, called ‘Mab’, is an automated cleaning system able to scan a house, determine the areas needing to be cleaned and then sending out hundreds of small flying robots that clean surfaces by touching them with a drop of water thereby trapping the dirt particles.

The concept is the brainchild of Adrian Perez Zapata from Colombia and won first place at the Electrolux Design Lab 2013 Contest finals at the Fotografiska Museum in Stockholm, Sweden.

“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,” said Perez.

“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.”

The competition is designed to stimulate design students around the world to present breakthrough ideas for future household environments and uncover new talent in the design industry.

“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 cleaning efforts of consumers as well as businesses, while maximizing the results.”

Mab also won the People’s Choice Award after it received over 40 per cent of the 4,391 public votes on the Design Lab website.

Second prize went to the Atomium 3D food printer, by Luiza Silva from Brazil, that uses molecular ingredients to construct food layer by layer. Users draw the shape of the food they would like to eat and the appliance scans the image and prints food in the desired shape.

Third prize went to Jeabyun Yeon from Korea for Breathing Wall – a wall integrated air cleaning concept which pulsates and changes shape as it cleans the air. It can be customised to scent the air and changes colour according to the users’ preferences.

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.”

The theme of the year was Inspired Urban Living and there were more than 1,700 submissions from over 60 countries around the world.

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.

First prize was €5,000 (£4,200) and a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design centre. Second prize was €3,000, third prize was €2,000 and the People’s Choice Award prize was €1,000.

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