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Bouncing blender among top concepts in international design competition

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A bouncing blender, a portable eco-dishwasher and a compact fold-up cooker dreamed up by Massey University students have been chosen from more than 1300 designs globally as semi-finalists in the prestigious 2011 Electrolux Design Lab competition.

The creations, by three third year industrial design students at the University's Auckland School of Design, are among the top 25 from hundreds of designers based in 14 countries. This year's theme is "Intelligent Mobility" solutions for domestic appliances using existing technology.

Roseanne de Bruin's Smoobo blender combines the fun of a bouncing ball with a means of making a smoothie. The ball contains a plastic casing, which is filled with fruit, yoghurt and juice. Then the user bounces it to activate kinetic energy batteries that in turn make rotor blades inside the ball spin and blend the smoothie ingredients.

The idea came to Ms de Bruin when she was sitting on a park bench watching a child bouncing a basketball. "It got me thinking about how to get kids to help out with food preparation away from the kitchen," she says.

David Stockton's EcoWash is a portable mini-dishwasher based on the concept of a manual salad spinner. It is designed for use during powercuts, or for camping, boating and wilderness holidays where there is no access to electricity. Mr Stockton says his design takes the hassle and mess out of campsite clean-ups.

Sam Evans' Heat Grenade is not a weapon but a portable cooking device designed for emergencies and inspired by the hardship he witnessed in Christchurch after the February earthquake as people struggled without electricity.

"I thought it would be cool to design something that would be a help to people, like in the situation in Christchurch," he says.

His design, powered by paper-thin batteries, resembles an oval aluminium egg. When the top button is pressed it folds open like a flower to turn into an induction hob with a black glass surface and control panel that slides out from under it.

The three design students are the only New Zealand entries to be nominated as semi-finalists, with three entries each also from Australia and Poland, and two each from France, South Korea, Canada, the Czech Republic and the United States.

Eight finalists will be announced next week, and each will be invited to a present their concept to a jury of expert designers in London in September. The jury will consider intuitive design, innovation and consumer insight when awarding prizes. First prize is a 5,000 Euros (about NZ$8,700) and a six-month internship at an Electrolux global design centre, second prize is 3,000 Euros (about NZ$5,220) and third prize is 2,000 Euros (about NZ$3480).

Massey industrial design senior lecturer Azhar Mohamed says the students' achievements showcased the world-class design education provided by the New Zealand education system.��

"For us to win three out of 25 of the very best in the world is inspiring.�This clearly shows that despite being a small country we are indeed a powerhouse of ideas and that we are capable of ultimately producing some of the best innovations in design and manufacturing,"

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