Will Dyson’s air-purifying headphones actually work?
Ever the leaders in innovation, Dyson's new air-purifying headphones look like something out of science fiction, but is the technology feasible?
Air purifiers are a hot commodity, with the air we breathe more scrutinised than ever in an age of pandemic and pollution. Equally of interest to the modern consumer are headphones. Leaving the house in 2022 without the ability to listen to your favourite music at the click of a button is like walking out the door without shoes.
So, naturally, Dyson has decided to smash these products together. Enter the Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones, set to release this Spring.
That's right, Dyson has announced that air purification technology will no longer be restricted to the home, but can be brought to the outside world. While you're walking down the street listening to your commuting playlist, you'll be able to ensure the air you're breathing is of top quality. At least, that's what Dyson claims.
Since this product is so out-of-left-field, we've decided to dig a bit deeper.
Dyson air-purifying headphones: The science
After 6 years of research and 500 prototypes, Dyson finalised this model. Creating a mannequin with mechanical lungs allowed the company to relentlessly experiment, trial and retool. So what exactly is Dyson hoping to protect you from?
The air we breathe every day is full of stuff we ideally would not be taking in, including allergens like pollen and gaseous pollutants like NO2. If it's bushfire season, all that smoke you breathe is far from healthy. Depending on your location, having access to air purification technology on the go could have significant long-term health benefits.
The product Dyson is sending to market utilises 2-stage filtration technology and what's known as an "electrostatic media". An electrostatic charge allows the filter to attract particles out of the air. That's how Dyson was able to shrink its filter technology to fit into the Zone.
The Zone will use a non-contact visor to draw in clean air and deliver it to your nose and mouth, or "breathing zone". Thanks to its extensive testing, Dyson has ensured you'll get clean air whether you're sitting at a desk, or exercising.
What do the experts think?
That's all very well, but of course Dyson thinks its own product is great. Kate Cole OAM is a Certified Occupational Hygienist and air quality engineer who has protected workers on some of Australia's most iconic infrastructure projects. She had this to say about the Dyson Zone:
"Dyson's new air-purifying headphones look very impressive. They promise to filter out particulates and gases, and with increasing air pollution and increasing transmission risk of COVID-19, this is a product that will likely have a lot of demand. Essentially the device looks like a slim-line version of what we know in industry to be called a "powered air purifying respirator" or "PAPR".
"While press releases are great, avid scientists will be looking for information on things like how its performance is impacted by environmental factors (temperature, humidity, wind resistance, etc), Dyson's claims (and evidence) of levels of protection from pollutants, and whether the device is going to meet any recognised standards for these types of devices.
"The promo video says that 'enough clean air is getting to the user'… but really, what is 'enough' will be demonstrated in yet-to-be-released laboratory test reports. I shall stay tuned for the evidence."
Dyson Zone headphone functionality
While the Zone's air purification is what's captured all the headlines, Dyson is promising a high-fidelity audio experience as well. In addition to fighting off air pollutants, Dyson is also concerned about the modern bugbear of noise pollution.
The Zone will utilise active noise cancellation technology to protect your ears from nearby construction work and traffic. To do this, it will use microphones on the outside of the headphones to take in all the sounds happening around you, and cancel them out before they ever touch your ear canal.
Tightly cushioning your ears, the Zone ensures you hear nothing but music. The Zone will use "the best-quality speaker drive available" and a large audio cavity.
Buy air purifiers
If you want to bring this technology into your home, check out some great prices on stationary air purifiers.
Can you do without advanced air purification technology, and just want to listen to your favourite tunes? Here are some great headphones deals.
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