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Electrolux Design Lab Semi-Finalists Tackle Issues with Textiles, Food, Air Quality

The Electrolux Design Lab announced its 35 semi-finalists for this year's competition for design and technology students. They include everything from sustainable fashion solutions to futuristic air purifiers to food growth and storage systems.

The Electrolux Design Lab announced its 35 semi-finalists for this year's competition for design and technology students. They include everything from sustainable fashion solutions to futuristic air purifiers to food growth and storage systems.

“This year’s Electrolux Design Lab semi-finalists have created visionary concepts that are prime examples of what you might see in the home of the future,” said Lars Erikson, Head of Jury and Head of Group Design at Electrolux. “They focus on connectivity, biomimicry, robotics, wearable tech, recycling and reusing materials, all promoting healthy, sustainable lifestyles at home — virtually in some cases. Overall, the concepts make our everyday busy lives more efficient and our choices more sustainable for a greener planet.”

Standout innovations in textiles include:

  • Fabric Pen — Described as “a sewing kit in your pocket,” the Fabric Pen is an ultra-efficient, portable clothing repair system. The Pen will mend a tear by scanning the original fabric and printing a patch of the same fabric in the same color onto the damaged area. The printed patch will attach itself to loose threads at the tear and mask itself.

  • Zero Waste: always trendy — This is a wardrobe system that will allow users to make new clothes by using old clothes as raw material to print the new ones, thereby eliminating waste. Customers will initially be provided with special raw material that can be repeatedly recycled. Technology will help the user scan his/her body, choose a virtual outfit and try it on. Once a design has been chosen, the outfit will be 3D-printed using different colors and multi-material printing.

    “The 3D body-scanning function of the Zero Waste: always trendy wardrobe would be useful even without the added functionality of having it print clothes from your existing closet,” says PSFK’s Pippa Biddle. “Body scans could be sent to custom clothing manufacturers ensuring proper measurements and a garment made with less waste.”

  • PETE — The pitch: “Let’s spare the environment and dress fashionable!” A household appliance that transforms Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles into new garments, PETE offers a twist on existing technology. Users insert PET bottles into the machine, select a pattern and size and PETE does the rest. The design is simple and allows PETE to be mounted on any wall in the house.

Promising food innovations include:

  • Garden Pod — A modular greenhouse designed to be placed on building exteriors, the Garden Pod transforms organic food waste into compost using natural energy resources and grows vegetables from sprouts in a 24-hour life cycle. Once food waste is composted, the pod uses sunlight, humidity and the compost to grow nano bionic sprouts into vegetables. “Nano bionic plants are revolutionary plants that have the ability of absorbing more energy from the sun, and so grow faster,” the inventors say. Apart from humidity, waste water from air-conditioning units can provide another water source.
  • Grow Your Own Proteins — This kitchen mini station allows you to grow your own spirulina algae — one of the richest and most sustainable protein sources on earth — and process it into a nutritious, 3D-printable superfood powder. The tools allow users to harvest the microscopic algae, drain it, dry it and then grind it into an almost tasteless powder.

And amazing advancements in air-purification include:

  • UrbanCONE — An automatic, radio-controlled, smart device, the UrbanCONE purifies air in open, urban spaces. Inspired by the jellyfish in design, the drone-like device will fly around with filters and fans, creating pockets of clean air.
  • Petollar — A boon to people with pet allergies, this device will reduce home allergies through electrostatic dust removal. The Petollar consists of Plusa (air cleaner) and Minuz (a pet collar); the negative ion discharger on the collar will transform the ions around the pet into electrostatic objects, which will be sucked into the positive ion plate in the air cleaner — thus reducing the amount of allergens in the room.

The Electrolux DesignLab competition is conducted in stages, allowing contestants to develop their concept throughout the process, incorporating feedback and improvements. In two weeks, experts from Electrolux will choose 6 entries from the 35 semi-finalists.

Granted, a number of the concepts explored by the 35 innovators may not make it beyond the concept stage, but a number of companies are successfully using PETE’s idea to reduce plastic bottle waste by turning it into fabric: Levi’s, adidas, G-Star Raw and Dirtball have all added plastic to their denim, while Thread has spun it into a silky fabric now lining a range of Moop bags.


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