Another semifinalist of note comes from Korean Samaung Art and Design Institute student Juan Lee. He describes the Jell Balls design as a new cleaner appliance that hoovers up all the dust using the principle of gel surface tension. The main robotic appliance would contain eight small, round robotic gel balls that roll out of the main body, collect dirt and return to the main body where the dust is deposited in a bag. Lee thinks this could work well on damp problem areas in the bathroom and kitchen.
I'm fully aware that these concepts are out there and unlikely to be on the store shelves any time soon. But they both contain very real elements. As PopSci's Colin Lecher pointed out, the balls and the gel already exist, and so does a similar remote-controlled robotic ball called Sphero. As insane as Mab's swarm cleaner sounds, IEEE Spectrum's Evan Ackerman mentioned the Robobees project under way at Harvard.
No-Wash Shirt Doesn't Stink After 100 Days
Next month the contest finalists will be chosen, with a top prize of 5,000 euros (nearly $6,700) and a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux Global Design Center. Wonder if the winner will be required to do any cleaning around the place. Hey, it's just some extra motivation to make a working prototype.