Famed vacuum-cleaner maker Electrolux shows it doesn't suck as much as you think by putting on a design competition every year. This year's nine Design Lab '08 finalists have outdone those from the past, with students inventing and designing a variety of ambitious devices that might make your quality of life better — if they're ever actually manufactured. See an overview of the amazing gadgets in the video above, and then hit Continue for close-up shots and descriptions of why each one is truly amazing.
Sook: This social-networked kitchen recipe generator has an electronic tongue to taste, weigh, and measure the moisture of whatever you place on (or even near) its magic platform, sensing the ingredients and (insert miracle here) spitting out potential recipes to you and your online pals. Good luck with that, designer Adam Bradowski. Tasty!
Coox: Antoine Lebrun designed a cooktop on wheels, letting you whip up a fine meal anywhere you want. Using existing induction cooktop tech, it's the perfect appliance for those with a hankering to bring the art of cooking into the bedroom, bathroom, living room — you name it. I suppose dedicated microwave-popcorn chefs such as myself wouldn't understand.
E-Bag: Swing this cooler bag back and forth, and it generates enough electricity to stay frosty. Its rotating handle is attached to a dynamo, and that combined with spiffy Peltier technology transfers heat away from your cool contents. Apor Püspöki designed it to hold three liters, and hey, there are three LEDs on it, so it must be cool in more ways than one.
Stratosphere: Stop tossing those clothes on the floor, young man! Chuck them onto the Stratosphere, sucking the funk out of your stinky sweat socks with a HEPA filter. It runs that malodorous air under sanitizing untraviolet light, making it fresh and clean. Designer Attila Sáfrány might have neglected the bacteria that might be still residing on the clothes, but that doesn't make us like the look of his champagne tulip design any less.
iBasket: These design students must hate doing laundry. Guopeng Liang's iBasket is a magic container that combines hamper, washer and dryer, starting the cleaning as soon as it gets full. No more carrying all those dirty clothes to and fro — it's all automagic!
Vesta: Here's a slim cooktop that folds away when you're not cooking. Might be great for those of us living our lives in an apartment that's the size of a broom closet. This one also has a built-in scanner that can read RFID chips, so it can gather info about the food you're cooking, and maybe even bark out some cooking tips. Neat-looking design, Matthias Plikert.
Drawer Kitchen: Designer Nojae Park works so hard, he doesn't ever want to leave his desk. Here's his solution, jamming the whole kitchen into a pretty drawer. It's got it all, including a refrigerator, hot plate, a place to stash dishes, and even a little table for one. Hook this baby up to USB, and you'll be onto something, Nojae.
Flatshare: Designer Stefan Buchberger probably has some thieving roommates, because he designed a refrigerator that deals with the problem by using compartmentalization. Finally getting your own place? Just take your own stackable modular fridge with you. Add a padlock to each drawer, and this might work in the real world.
Scan Toaster: Now you're cooking, Sung Bae Chang. We loves us some high-tech toasters here at DVICE, and this design would let us print up whatever we want on those delectable slices. Just think of the deities, celebrities or political candidates we could print on toast. eBay here we come!