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Quirky blender third in global competition

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Massey University industrial design student Roseanne de Bruin has won third place in the finals of the prestigious Electrolux Design Lab competition in London this week for her bouncing ball blender.

Ms de Bruin's Smoobo design beat more than 1300 entries from over 50 countries for third place of eight finalists. She was one of three New Zealand entrants - all from Massey's Auckland School of Design - to be named among the 25 semi-finalists earlier this year.

She described her success as "completely amazing, mind-blowing! Coming this far is better than I could ever dream."

The overall winner was Adrian Mankovecky, from Slovakia, with his Portable Spot Cleaner, with second place to Enzo Kocak, from Monash University, Melbourne, for his all-in-one hotplate, warming device and cooler for portable use. Onda, a portable microwave oven designed by Matthew Schwartz from California State University, won the People's Choice Award, voted online.

Ms de Bruin and seven other finalists from Australia, Finland, United States, Canada, Slovakia, Hungary and South Korea presented their concepts to a jury of expert designers on September 7. The jury considered intuitive design, innovation and consumer insight before awarding first prize of 5000 Euros (about NZ$8700) and a six-month internship at an Electrolux global design centre, second prize of 3000 Euros (about NZ$5220) and third prize of 2000 Euros (about NZ$3480).

The Electrolux Design Lab, in its ninth year, challenges undergraduate and graduate industrial design students to "present innovative ideas for household appliances of the future". The theme for 2011 was Intelligent Mobility with the brief requiring designers to create home appliances reflecting the theme and which can be used away from or in the home.

Ms de Bruin's quirky Smoobo combines the fun of a bouncing ball with an environmentally friendly way of making a smoothie. The ball contains a plastic casing, which is filled with selected ingredients such as fruit, yoghurt and juice. The user bounces it to activate kinetic energy batteries that in turn make rotor blades inside the ball spin to blend the smoothie ingredients.

The idea for Smoobo came to the former Rangitoto College pupil when she was sitting on a park bench.

"I was on my break at work, sitting in the park drinking a thick shake I just bought from the local dairy. A kid, around seven years old, ran into the playground, basketball in hand. He was so happy. His eyes lit up as he bounced the ball to his father," she recalls. "I thought 'wouldn't it be cool if there was a way to get children to be more enthusiastic about healthy eating, and even better if this idea also encouraged the kids to help their parents with preparing food'. That's when it hit me. A blender in a bouncy ball!"

Intelligent Mobility

The theme in the competition's ninth year is 'Intelligent Mobility'. The students were invited to create home appliances ideas for how people prepare food, clean and do dishes both within and beyond the home from this particular perspective. The appliances should not only physically be more portable, but also provide flexible control to liberate people from being in the home. The brief particularly requested ideas that offer personalization and inspire users whilst utilizing existing technology to offer support and guidance. Additionally, all concepts should reflect Scandinavian Design values - being sensitive to the environment, providing intuitive ease of use and aesthetic appeal.

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