A Magical Floating Washing Machine Orb: WTF???

Just last week, Zheng brought up that the Electrolux Design Lab competition is “like fuckin’ Christmas” for That’s Flawesome, because, well, it is the best collection of the worst concept product designs EVER. Oh, look, here’s one right now.

Okay, I understand that the goal of the Electrolux Design Lab competition is to allow entrants to envision product experiences in the distant future. Cool. And now you’re looking at this pic, thinking “Wait, what is that…?” I’ll tell you what it is. It’s a spherical washing machine and dryer that levitates…and it cleans by shooting carbon dioxide gas through clothing.


Yeah, that’s what I’m thinking, too.

Designer Elie Ahovi envisions a beautiful future of washing clothes without detergent and drying them without heat, while the clothes float effortlessly in a glass ball in front of you. He calls it Orbit. How would you work this thing? The designer explains it all in this graphic.

So, let me get this straight…

  1. I put my dirty clothes in a ball.
  2. I stick the ball in the ring. That’s what she said.
  3. ?????
  4. Profit!

Well, that sounds reasonable. But let’s get into the real mechanics and engineering of this futuristic washer/dryer. Because it gets better…

Let me just repeat exactly what is written on that pic, because there’s no way I could do it justice.

“Orbit produce his own energy. The ring hide huge batteries. While working, the drum produce some energy which reload the batteries when Orbit is off thanks to the induction technology.”

See, not only does this washer/dryer levitate your shit, it produces it’s own energy that charges it’s own batteries…through induction…? I’m not going to give you a whole physics lesson on induction, because this isn’t a physics blog. But maybe ask yourself this: “Where is all this energy coming from?” Magical batteries that have limitless charge. Duh.

Okay, forget about the whole “This washer/dryer operates on free energy”-aspect, let’s concentrate on how it actually works. Guess what? He has a graphic for that!

I don’t even know how to respond to what’s written on the pic. Really. It doesn’t even make sense. Let’s go on to the next one.

I wondered where the designer got the idea for “cryogenic cleaning” or “cleaning clothing with CO2.” Then I remembered when I was in school, how most industrial design students in my class learned about things: by typing words into Google, then clicking on the first links that come up. That’s instant validation that your far-fetched idea is tangible. Google said so! It seems he combined the use of solid dry ice to clean machinery with the use of liquid CO2 in a closed washer system to dry clean clothing…to create this “closed-circuit” cleaning system…?

Here are some specifics of the Orbit.

Of course, it has a touch screen on it. The ball is made of 2 layers of shatterproof glass [kinda heavy for levitating, wouldn’t you think?], and it surrounds a “superconductive metal” mesh. And that’s a clue that reveals a lot about the knowledge and ideas the designer has. Those familiar with superconductors and the theory behind it know that superconducting materials are not metals. Metals have resistance; superconducting materials, at a certain low temperature, do not have any resistance. That’s why it’s called a “superconductor”, because it conducts fully, has zero electrical resistance.

I saved the best pic for last, the ever popular “ideation” summary that tells the world how industrial designers think of such ingenious products.

Nice sketches. Too bad that copy on the left ruins it all.

“I did a deep research on the technology, into the smallest details. I wanted a credible product. I cross this with the functions and the behaviors. A new spherical washing machine form came naturally.”

This is all bullshit. I’m sorry to put it so plainly, but it is. Utter bullshit. If there’s anything that hasn’t been done, it’s “deep research.” Above, I said the designer’s use of the term “superconducting metals” was a clue into the mind of the designer. It was. It shows that he has no clear understanding about one of the main components of his product: superconductivity. Through his “deep research”, he found the Meissner Effect, and every article written about the Meissner Effect always has the same picture, the picture that you see in the graphic above: a levitating magnet. And why not? It’s the best way to demonstrate the complete expulsion of an induced magnetic field from a high-temperature superconductor. But the point of superconductivity isn’t to levitate objects. The point of superconductivity is that a material exists that has no electrical resistance. Sure, magnetic levitation is a possible application, but  superconductivity has more promise in creating highly-sensitive magnetometers, or transferring electric power with much more efficiency than was ever thought possible, and not creating a superfluous levitating glass orb that cleans our clothing.

I will let the “cleaning with CO2”-thing slide, because honestly, that’s plausible, even if I feel more research is needed regarding it. The rest of this is garbage. The designer did not “do research…into the smallest details.” If he did, he totally missed the larger details, like a full understanding of the physics needed for his product to be credible or even plausible. This is a textbook example of Flawesome-ness, at it’s best. Never trust a pretty render.