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Thick shakes, basketball and kinetic energy combine to inspire global award-winning Kiwi design

Thick shakes, basketball and kinetic energy combine to inspire global award-winning Kiwi design

We’ve always been a fan of Massey University student Roseanne de Bruin’s quirky and environmentally friendly smoothie maker, the aptly titled Smoobo mixer. De Bruin crafted her design as part of the 2011 Electrolux Design Lab challenge, which tasks undergraduate and graduate industrial design students to “present innovative ideas for household appliances of the future". Having made it to the top eight, the only Kiwi to do so, de Bruin’s concept has earned her third place in the global competition, impressively fending off more than 1,300 entries from more than 50 countries in the process. 

The industrial design student described the win as “completely amazing” and  “mind-blowing”. 

“Coming this far is better than I could ever dream.” 

De Bruin’s concept works by literally bouncing ingredients together. To create your smoothie, you place the ingredients inside the rubber ball, shut the knob tightly and start bouncing it around. The bounce action activates kinetic batteries which make the rotor blades spin, resulting in a perfectly blended smoothie. And in another design twist, de Bruin used uneven rubber knobs on the surface to make the ball bounce in unpredictable directions.  

An impressive concept, the origins of which de Bruin said started while sitting on a park bench, sipping on a thickshake she’d purchased from the local dairy. A kid ran onto the court with a basketball in hand and de Bruin said his eyes lit up when he bounced the ball with his father. 

“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,” she recalls. 

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 (NZ$8700) and a six-month internship at an Electrolux global design centre, second prize of 3000 Euros (NZ$5220) and third prize of 2000 Euros (NZ$3480). 

The overall winner was Adrian Mankovecky, from Slovakia, with his stain removing Portable Spot Cleaner. To work it, you simply place your clothing between the two components of the machine.  Negative ions and steam refresh clothing and remove stains and, because it is powered with a sugar crystal battery, you can use it practically anywhere in the world.

Second place went 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 for online. 

This year’s competition theme was intelligent mobility, with students invited to create home appliance ideas based around how people prepare food, clean and do dishes both within and beyond the home. 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 personalisation and inspire users whilst utilising 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. 

This year’s jury included Danish designer Cecilie Manz, award-winning architects Hayes and James Slade, and Henrik Otto, senior vice president of global design at Electrolux.