Future Designs: Robotic Mars Greenhouse, Teleporting Fridge

Article written: 28 Aug , 2009
Updated: 26 Apr , 2016
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Now THIS is what I’m talking about! Every year Electrolux holds a competition for students to design concepts for future appliances, and they’ve just announced the eight finalists. My favs: a robotic greenhouse for Mars and a teleporting refrigerator. Le Petit Prince (Little Prince) is a robotic greenhouse concept that is specially designed to help the future exploration and expanding population when we colonize Mars. This intelligent robot carries and cares for a plant inside its glass container, which is functionally mounted on a four-legged self-transporting pod. Not only does it search for the optimum place to receive enough sunlight and other nutrients, it also send reports of its movements and developments to its fellow greenhouse robots through wireless communication. It was designed by Martin Miklica, from the Brno University of Technology in the Czech Republic. He said he was inspired by the book The Naked Sun by Isaac Asimov and R2-D2 from Star Wars (and surely Wall-E had something to do with this, too.)

See video of Le Petit Prince, below, and of the teleporting fridge.

This one I can’t wait for: The Teleport Fridge by Dulyawat Wongnawa, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Once we figure out how to beam things up, the Teleport Fridge teleports food, eliminating the time and distance a person has to travel to buy fresh groceries or products from a store or farm. Using touch-screen technology as the interface for the teleportation process, the Teleport Fridge simply teleports food to compartments in its refrigeration and freezer units. If the food spoils, it teleports it to the compost pile. Very cool, but it takes the adventure out of opening those containers in the back of the fridge.

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See the other six design concepts and vote for your favorite here.

Source: Electrolux Design Lab

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10 Responses

  1. npbarker says

    Hmm. A couple of basic, simple, impractical “design” concepts that a middle-schooler could easily invent. But couple them with with some CG programmers and a slick public relations firm with a budget, and bingo! Free advertising.

  2. TD says

    It’s heartbreaking. Decades ago scientists dreamed of finding life off the earth – and the most likely spot was the seasonally changing colors on Mars. The ambiguous results from one pair of probes (Viking) and the opinions of a few scientists (that seasonal color change must be wind-blown sand), and the dreams of the world’s youth are reduced to planning a picnic on mars.

    We still live in a world where the discovery of indigenous life on mars would be the greatest discovery in the history of science, and where the opinions of the few outspoken scientists have definitely not proved mars is lifeless. But from our multi-billion dollar Mars efforts (the majority paid for by the US taxpayer)…all we get is disco pseudo-color pictures or black and white microscope images…apparently for those who like geology. I feel very sad for today’s youth….mini-Mars greenhouses? teleporting fridge’s? I’d like to set the bar: find life on Mars, or prove it sterile, or find another job (not at the taxpayers expense).

  3. Jon Hanford says

    I’m not sure was TD was advocating in his last post when he/she states “…from our multi-billion dollar Mars efforts (the majority paid for by the US taxpayer)…all we get is disco pseudo-color pictures or black and white microscope images…apparently for those who like geology.” From this I surmise that future exploration missions to Mars (both orbital and from the surface) scrap all geological, atmospheric, mineralogical and meteorological experiments of Mars in favor of what? All these sciences and others are needed precisely to locate areas on Mars suitable for intensified research into past or present Martian life. Exactly what is the alternative?

  4. Torbjorn Larsson OM says

    Um, we _have_ found life off the Earth. Remember the astronauts (ever more of them out there), or the bacteria that went to and fro the Moon in a Surveyor camera?

    Life elsewhere would be important to man, but not so much outside biology. QM is still IMO the most basic and illuminating, the greatest, discovery to date. No one expected it, and the ramifications is stupendous.

  5. Jon Hanford says

    @Torbjorn Larsson OM, AFAIU, the Strepococcus mitis found on the lens of Surveyor 3 may be the result of accidental contamination by the ground crew processing and handling the camera. Check out this wiki page for a more detailed description of the ‘finding’ here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reports_of_Streptococcus_mitis_on_the_moon .

  6. Jon Hanford says

    Errrr….that should read “Streptococcus mitis” 🙂

  7. jstone1453 says

    If this gets me one step closer to drinking a cold beer on the Red Planet, well it’s another giant step for man.

  8. Lawrence B. Crowell says

    Sending robots to Mars with laboratory equipment to detect life on Mars: Good idea,

    Sending robots to Mars to grow up Earth life on Mars: Bad idea.

    We really need to scrub from our minds Sci-Fi ideas that we are going to be inhabiting Mars, setting up colonies or terraforming the planet. At least this sort of think will not happen at all soon. Sending Earth life to other planets is a sort of contamination or the introduction of noise into a detector intending to find biochemistry for life or pre-biotic processes.

    Lawrence B. Crowell

  9. Elf4God says

    I’m disappointed to read the stifling, musty comments on this article. These are creative inventions that very well may be used many years in the future. That doesn’t mean we should scrub it! Colonies and terraforming are good, long-term ideas, NOT intended to be carried out soon, in our lifetimes, or even this century. Nevertheless, they are viable ideas to be considered.

  10. Aqua says

    Eeyup… another slow news day…..

    Silly factor = 8.9
    Relevance factor = 3.2
    Commercial equivalent = 3.2

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