March 30, 2022
Dyson, the UK manufacturer made famous by selling upmarket vacuums based on jet engines or something like that, has unveiled a set of headphones that also blow purified air into your mouth.
The Dyson Zone is a ‘wearable air purifier’ designed to protect the wearer from city pollution including gas, allergens and particulate matter while blasting your favourite tunes unmolested by roadworks thanks to some noise cancelling gubbins.
It works thanks to two spinning things in the headphones which clean the air, before blowing it into your face. Why would you, as a mammal native to this planet with billions of years of evolutionary adaptation to the atmosphere behind you, need some gizmo from a hoover firm to breathe? Because urbanisation means 9 out of 10 people are breathing air that exceeds World Health Organisation guideline pollutant limits, says Dyson.
WHO also apparently has guidance on how loud things should be, and Dyson says more than 100 million people are ‘exposed to long-term noise exposure’ above that level – hence the noise cancelling earphones bit. Weather or not blasting out music directly into your eardrums instead of hearing a car go by also gets WHO scientists worried was not stated.
“Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go,” said Jake Dyson, Chief Engineer at Dyson. “In our homes, at school, at work and as we travel, whether on foot, on a bike or by public or private transport. The Dyson Zone™ purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturised air pumps. After six years in development, we’re excited to deliver pure air and pure audio, anywhere.”
Here’s a video explaining the thing:
As you’d expect from Dyson there seems to have been a lot of fuss made around every element of the gadget. It’s probably not hard for its marketing department to give off the impression that as much hard work and brain power went into sucking up crumbs from your carpet as scientists did splitting the atom or decoding the genome. Here’s a snippet: “The Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones evolved dramatically over its six years in development. More than 500 prototypes saw one motor initially placed at the nape become two compressors, one in each ear-cup and the evolution of the snorkel mouthpiece into an effective, contact-free visor that delivers clean air without full-face contact – a brand-new clean air delivery mechanism.”
It seems to have been in development for ages so it can’t be said to be in response to Covid, but the idea of cocooning your ears and mouth in a protective shield chimes with the current low-level but lingering acrophobia afflicting societies in the wake of the pandemic.
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