10 Appliances of the Future from Electrolux's Prototype Competition

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    Aeroball, by Polish student Jan Ankiersztajn, is a revolutionary way to improve the spaces in which we live. In tiny bubbles that float and hover, the Aeroball cleans and filters the air while hovering in place.

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    Treat, by Australian Amy Mon-Chu Liu, combines classic food storage techniques with modern remote, mobile technology for freshness and convenience. It warns you when your food is expiring by changing color as the food ages and dropping items from the tree when they have expired.

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    Norwegian student Lisa Frodadottir Låstad designed Easystir—a mechanism that will stir whatever is on the stove, freeing up users’ hands to do something else. By utilizing magnets that react to an induction stove, the Easystir saves time and money by never needing charging, batteries, or plugs.

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    ICE, by Spanish designer Julen Pejenaute, can be used as a basic lamp with adjustable brightness or color, but it will also scan ingredients you've already chosen and give suggestions on meals that can be made from those ingredients. Users also will have access to a database of recipes, and ICE will guide you every step of the way.

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    Impress, by New Zealand designer Ben de la Roche, is a refrigeration wall that keeps your food and drinks out in the open, rather than behind closed doors. Each individual chamber does not refrigerate unless there is something in it, which helps to conserve energy.

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    Designed by Mexican student Yunuén Hernández, Mo'Sphere allows the user to experiment with and experience new flavors and sensations through molecular cooking, allowing users to do flash freezing, foams, frosts, and cotton candy.

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    Chinese designer WenYao Cai created Memory, a coffee maker that uses hand print recognition to make the right cup of coffee for the right person.

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    SmartPlate, by Julian Caraulani from the United Kingdom/Romania, is the world’s first intelligent dish that physically understands food and transforms it into sound. It wirelessly connects to a mobile device, identifies food, and precisely attaches musical notes, harmonies, and rhythm to each ingredient.

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    Brazilian Alexandre de Bastiani designed Spummy, a device that uses nano-technology to create edible foam with any flavor or combination of flavors you can imagine.

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    Designed by Christopher Holm-Hansen of Denmark, Tastee is a taste indicator that does the work for you. Using receptors based on the human taste bud, it tells you what your food needs and what it doesn't.

Worldwide appliance giant Electrolux has chosen 10 student-designed concepts to present to a four-person jury of professionals at the company’s annual design competition in Milan, Italy, on October 25.

“As we celebrate the tenth year anniversary of Electrolux Design Lab, we wanted to give the students a brief that challenged them to create holistic sensorial experiences,” Henrik Otto, the company’s senior vice president of global design, said in a release announcing the finalists. “The ten concepts that have reached the Design Lab 2012 finals are an overview of the kind of creative design thinking that surprises and challenges us and creates discussion about the future.”

Launched in 2002, the Electrolux Design Lab is an annual global design competition open to undergraduate and graduate industrial design students who are invited to present innovative ideas for household appliances of the future. This year the winner will receive 5,000 euros and a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux global design center. In addition, the jury will select second- and third-place winners, who will receive 3,000 euros and 2,000 euros, respectively.

The company received more than 1,200 entries this year. Electrolux challenged students to draw inspiration from professional experience creators (chefs, architects, interior designers, hotel designers, etc.) to design home appliances that will provide a fuller sensory experience, the company says. It might be through state of the art technology or through a clever blend of textures and surfaces.

“I believe the importance of our sensory perception is underestimated in a lot of today’s design,” Otto says. “Too much importance is accorded to the visual. What if we could incorporate our other senses into design? Could we smell who is calling? Or feel what’s on TV?”

The concepts and design themes push the boundaries of what most people might consider practical applications, and they probably will never be available for purchase by consumers. Still, the company says the competition may provide inspiration for future home appliances and solutions, and is a good way to discover new talent.

To see the 10 finalists, check out the slideshow.

Nigel F. Maynard is a senior editor at Builder.