Given the events of recent years, it’s really no surprise that air purifiers have become a little bit more popular and in demand. On the one hand, it hints at how bad the air is even inside our homes. On the other hand, increased interest in this kind of product has also opened the doors to rethink air purifiers’ designs. Gone are the conventional boxy or cylindrical appliances, replaced by more stylish forms that blend better with their surroundings, especially when it comes to home decor. Some designs even try to push the envelope further, like this robotic incarnation of the air purifier that not only cleans the air indoors but also creates a more enjoyable and personal atmosphere at home thanks to its disarming cuteness.
Designer: Sang il Shin
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Air purifiers are in the same class as air conditioners and electric fans, but unlike the latter two, they can’t help but be placed in more conspicuous positions inside the home. They have to be in a location where they can efficiently draw in dirty air and blow out clean air, which is why most designs simply resort to tall boxes or cylinders that stand in the center of rooms. That doesn’t have to be the case, however, especially if you have an air purifier that can actually move around the house.
PLANI combines the smart technologies present in today’s robot vacuums with an unconventional air purifier design that looks not only more interesting but also a little more human. The robot uses a variety of sensors like LIDAR to move where the air needs cleaning the most while safely avoiding obstacles, such as furniture, pets, and humans. When it comes time for it to do its job, it lifts its side flaps to reveal the air intake mechanism, making the appliance look like a cute mechanical creature.
The adorable life-improving robot has one other trick up its sleeve. In place of a face, it has a sheet of translucent material that is supposed to call to mind the windows of airplanes. Unlike those windows, however, it can change colors, most likely the effect of a ring of LEDs hidden around the glass’s edges that indicate the quality of air in the space. Green is clear and safe; yellow deserves a bit of concern; and red means that the machine needs to get to work.
It might be arguable whether such a design would be as efficient as a stationary air purifier placed strategically at the center of the room, but there’s little doubt it would be more effective in offering a bit more comfort and confidence. It could join the growing roster of smart home appliances that are being given faces or anthropomorphic forms in order to ease their adoption and integration into our lives.