By 2050, 74 percent of the world’s population will live in urban environments, according to a UN study. Swedish appliance manufacturer Electrolux annually challenges industrial design students to invent home appliances for small domestic spaces. This year’s winners have just been announced, beating out an array of imagined household gadgets the Jetsons would envy.
Submissions addressed a wide range of household needs, from a closet that detects and removes clothing stains to a thought-controlled kitchen staffed by robots.
Although the contest accepts designs for appliances of all kinds, kitchen gadgets once again dominated the finals (last year’s winner was a food-generating microwave), and the first place prize went to the Snail, a smart battery-powered magnetic induction cooking device that sticks directly to the pot it’s heating. A refrigerator that suspends food in a polymer gel won second place and the People’s Choice Award, and a modular, multi-use kitchen shelf system came in third. The winner gets 5,000 Euros (about $7,300) and a six-month paid internship at an Electrolux design center.