Flying mini-robots clean up at design competition

An automated cleaning system consisting of hundreds of flying mini-robots has won this year's Electrolux Design Lab competition.

Created by Columbian designer Adrian Perez Zapata, the Mab system works by scanning a house to determine which areas need cleaning. Its central unit then sends its army of 906 robots to clean and deodorise surfaces by touching them with a drop of water. "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," Zapata said. "This means you could sit back and relax, as you observe with great astonishment the little Mab 'fairies' working their magic autonomously." Now in its 11th year, the Electrolux Design Lab competition invites design students from around the world to present their breakthrough ideas for future household environments. More than 1700 students from over 60 countries around the world took part in the competition in 2013. The students were asked to submit concepts for products, accessories, consumables and services that would be seen as a breakthrough within the sectors of 'social cooking', 'natural air' or 'effortless cleaning'. The second prize went to Brazilian designer Luiza Silva. Her Atomium 3D food printer addresses the global issue of adopting healthy living by allowing users to "print each meal with the taste and aesthetic desired". Third prize went to Jeabyun Yeon from Korea for his Breathing Wall concept. The innovative system features an integrated air cleaning device which emits customised odours, while the LED lighting changes colour depending on the chosen scent or desired mood.