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Brief Published: 18 Oct 2013

Electrolux Design Lab 2013: Robot Cleaners

Extra
Mab

A domestic cleaning concept that uses hundreds of tiny flying robots has won Swedish appliance maker Electrolux’s 2013 Design Lab competition.

Mab is comprised of 908 tiny robots that clean surfaces by touching them with a drop of water, catching and trapping dirt particles. The flying robots bring the dirt back to the main hub – a spherical core where the robots are stored when not in use. The core then filters out the dirt and recovers any excess water. Both the robots and the Mab core are powered by solar panels located on the robots’ wings.

Mab’s creator Adrian Zapata, a design student at Universidad San Buenaventura Medellín in Colombia, said his concept was aimed at busy urbanites with neither the time nor the inclination to perform tedious household chores.

Zapata says he was inspired to design Mab after observing how bees work together when pollinating. Scientists are exploring the potential of nanobots to mimic the ways in which bees work together to scout, forage and plan. For more on the potential of nanobots, see Insects in Design.

The global Electrolux Design Lab competition invites undergraduate and graduate design students to imagine the future of the household. This year’s competition, themed ‘Inspired Urban Living’, received more than 1,700 entries. Eye-catching finalists included a shape-shifting vacuum cleaner and a wall-integrated air-cleaning concept that changes shape and colour.

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