UrbanCONE is a futuristic air filtration unit inspired by jellyfish propulsion.
Sustainability isn’t just a noble cause, it’s an essential one if we want to continue living a comfortable life on this planet. The best solutions are those that help people form better habits, but there are also solutions that use the latest tech and sleek design to lull people into a false sense of security. UrbanCONE is one such idea, a personal drone designed for a future with unbreathable air that can create microclimates tailored specifically to different individuals.
Inspired by the humble jellyfish, which uses a wing-like structure to propel itself through the water, the drone is equipped with a similar set of panels that conceal air filtration units. It’s also possible to install aromatic filters that can collect different smells, and then feed them into your microclimate depending on the time of day or your mood. Able to follow its owner around automatically, the conceptual design is also equipped with “green” features such as photovoltaic panels.
The drone was submitted as part of the 2014 Electrolux Design Competition, which challenges students to come up with ideas that paint a picture of future urban lifestyles. UrbanCONE was envisioned by Michal Pospiech, a student at the Jan Matejko Academy of Fine Arts in Poland.
While it’s clear the designer means well, the UrbanCONE sends the wrong message. It encourages people to think that environmental destruction is inevitable, and the only way to deal with that problem is to develop quick fixes and other technology that eases the pain for as long as possible. if we want to preserve our place on this planet, change needs to happen first on an individual level, then a collective one, and so on, until we’re all on the same page.
It’s fine for people to toy with conceptual ideas for the sake of stretching their imagination, but when quick fixes such as this one spread across the Internet, it’s easy for people to get the wrong idea. Hopefully future design competition will acknowledge this and create a clearer distinction between possible solutions, and those designed purely as a creative exercise.
Images by Electrolux