March 10, 2020
Dyson is known for making high-quality vacuums, hair dryers, and air purifiers. As reported by the Verge, a recently-published UK patent application reveals that the company may soon enter the headphone business as well. While this may seem off-brand for the manufacturing giant, Dyson’s design is for headphones that would simultaneously purify air. The air would be filtered out through a band that runs horizontally across the face and is connected to the earpieces on each end (see Figure 1a below). The filtered air would be directed toward the wearer’s nose and mouth. When the filter is not in use, the band could be pushed up to rest over the headband (see Figure 1b).
Although some consumers may not like the idea of wearing a device that partially obstructs their faces, the patent application notes that people around the world already wear face masks to protect themselves from inhaling highly polluted air.
The application states that the motors would be contained in the over-the-ear cups and rotate at a speed of approximately 12,000 rpm to pull in approximately 1.4 litres of air per second. This means the earpieces would contain motors that rotate more than 10 times faster than the average computer fan, which raises concerns regarding the potential noise of the motor and its impact on the sound quality of the headphones.
Dyson is not the only company that may be designing a wearable air purifier. AO Air recently announced its plans to retail a transparent facemask that filters air and expects the product to be available in July 2020. Whether Dyson will begin manufacturing the product remains to be seen, but it could be an appealing accessory for many in light of the growing concern over the harmful health effects of air pollution.
Authors: Jaclyn Tilak and Meg King