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Revealed: the new Dyson… er… thing?

New Dyson invention teaser image

Dyson’s teasing its newest invention. But the dazzling array of metal tubes, plastic things and circular doohickeys in its teaser video don’t give much away. What do you think it might be, and what do you want it to be?

Dyson’s well known for bringing innovation to existing products. Sir James Dyson himself invented bagless cyclonic vacuums, the latest being the DC47 and DC50.

But moving away from vacs, the company’s Airblade hand dryers are now a common sight in public facilities. We’ve also seen washing machines with contra-rotating drums and the Dyson Ballbarrow – a wheelbarrow with the Dyson Ball.

What will Dyson come up with next?

That’s the key question Dyson’s PR is posing to the world in the teaser video the company’s put together to taunt us.

The video itself shows a number of ambiguous elements: tough looking metal tubes, a circular axle/gear-like component, and after 13 seconds there’s the laser-cutting of a logo. This is handily obscured by the light gleaming off the tube it’s being cut into. Does that mean it’s an update of something already available? Or will the logo give away what it might be?

So what do you reckon it is?

Guesses around Which? HQ have been all over the place. Some think it’s some sort of new tumble dryer, others think it’s a lawnmower. One colleague even said it might resemble a car, though the odds are pretty long on that one. The only information that we do know for sure is that this has been in development for three years, it’s been worked on by 125 Dyson engineers and it has cost a cool £40m.

Whatever it is, we’ll be covering the launch next Tuesday 5 February. We’ll be sure to update this post with whatever we find there.

However, before we report back, we want your guesses as to what it might be. Also, if you had a say in what Dyson made next, what would you want it to be?

[UPDATE 5 Feb 2013] – Dyson has revealed its new creation. The company has redesigned its digital motor and put it into three appliances – a new version of the existing Airblade hand dryer, a brand new hand dryer called the Airblade V and the Airblade tap – a tap that also dries your hands. Are you blown away?

Comments

When something tested and tried can be had for lowly between £50 and £80,
I do not feel justified to spend 1000 nothwithstanding it be a superior product
that it probably is.

I don’t buy the argument about dripping on the floor. Washrooms with presence-activated driers next to wash basins (with touchless taps) do the job quite adequately. When you leave an ordinary washroom you inevitably touch other suraces – doors or handles for example – in air that has not been hepa filtered. We can get paranoid about freedom from germs – anti-bacterial handcleaner can probably do a better job.

Maybe these would be OK in health centres and hospitals.

It is a pity that Dyson do not support UK manufacturing.

Incidentally, the possible demise of the 1p illustrates the silliness of a £999.99 price tag (if that is true)(!!).

Anti-bacterial hand cleaner is best avoided because most chemicals that are harmful to bacteria will not be good for humans. I expect that they will be banned when this is understood.

I agree about the daft price. 🙂

wavechange – are you saying the hand gel used in e.g. hospital dispensers for visitors are harmful?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hand_sanitizer

An interesting article to read. And wavechange is partially right depending on the make-up pf the sanitiser.

It is interesting that the latest research on gut bacteria is showing how humans can be badly affected by mans use of anti-biotics and [bizarrely cured] by enemas of fresh bacteria.

“In Brief
Bacterial cells in the body outnumber human cells by a factor of 10 to 1. Yet only recently have researchers begun to elucidate the beneficial roles these microbes play in fostering health.
Some of these bacteria possess genes that encode for beneficial compounds that the body cannot make on its own. Other bacteria seem to train the body not to overreact to outside threats.
Advances in computing and gene sequencing are allowing investigators to create a detailed catalogue of all the bacterial genes that make up this so-called microbiome.
Unfortunately, the inadvertent destruction of beneficial microbes by the use of antibiotics, among other things, may be leading to an increase in autoimmune disorders and obesity.”
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=ultimate-social-network-bacteria-protects-health

It depends what they contain. Alcohols such as isopropanol are not a problem but some domestic hand washes contain various other chemicals. Others have expressed concerns. It’s not just me.

Phil says:
5 February 2013

I can’t help but wonder if all that money and expertise couldn’t have been devoted to developing something a little bit more important. The Dyson dialysis machine perhaps.

. . . or something that does the ironing,even.

This is something I could get on-board with. Maybe Dyson could invent a device that expels air so hard that it knocks the very creases out of clothes? Just wishful thinking, perhaps.

Steve earle says:
29 March 2013

Phil – a dumb and pointless comment when you think about it – as have most of your moments been

Steve – It would be better if you would comment on Dyson’s products rather than criticising those who have posted their views. What do you think Dyson will come up with next? How do they manage to keep their products secret?

I think there must be a collective misunderstanding of the market that Dyson are actually aiming the product at. I may be wrong but I would think this is not aimed at the home market but at places of amusement , offices, restaurants and pubs.

Air-drying is not suitable for hospitals, kitchens etc. Hand towels, as in disposable paper, are the most hygenic however for for normal use you can see why air-dry can be attractive. Average cost per user for paper towels is around 2p and there is the question of ordering, storing, re-stocking and disposal. In that light you can see why air-blade and clones would be attractive.

The advantage of this latest invention is that you can save on wall space so you can add an extra urinal/ basin or have a smaller room. Economically for a business this product makes sense.

I’d be interested to know if the force of the air is enough to blow the water out of a basin. So much for keeping the floor dry.

Adrian

I have concerns about hand driers that rely on a powerful jet of air, and not just the new Dyson tap. Dust on surfaces and the floor harbours bacteria and other microorganisms, and blowing dust round the room will ensure that we inhale it. Add to that the bugs in the water that is blown off hands put under the drier. Even careful washing does not remove all the bugs and if you have a look at how most people wash their hands you will see that it is anything but careful. I suspect that if Which? was to ask a microbiologist to check the number of bacteria in multi-user toilets with high speed hand driers you would be amazed how many bugs are in the air.

The Dyson Airblade does at least limit the amount of air blowing round the room.

Adrian

My experience is more to do with microbial biochemistry and physiology, but everyone who works with microorganisms soon learns that it is important to work in a draught-free environment to avoid contamination by bugs in dust, which is present even rooms that are kept clean. In toilets used by the public that dust is going to contain faecal organisms and the reason we wash our hands after using the toilet is to remove them because they could be a hazard to ourselves and others.

It is just a guess that high speed hand driers will put more bugs into the atmosphere, but one that would be very easy to check.

I am certainly not trying to criticise Dyson. There are plenty of high power hand driers (e.g. Airforce) that have been installed in toilets in recent years.

wavechange – if you read the supporting articles to the Wikipedia entry I linked you can read the detailed testing done by Westminster on the spreading of bacteria by air, AFAIR link #8.

However humans are covered with bacteria by design so it is important to get that point across aswell as the dangers from some bacterias.

I could not find the article you are referring to, dieseltaylor. I’m not sure if either of us can make useful comment on this, and I have read reviews in scientific journals. 🙂

The problems include the different response of individuals to exposure to microorganisms and the vast range – beneficial to benign to highly dangerous. Eschericia coli is the best studied bacterium but within that species can be found bacteria with very different properties. You may remember the deaths caused by E. coli O157:H7. The established route of transmission is via the faecal-oral route but the minimum infective dose is so small that I don’t fancy having that blowing round in a toilet or where food is prepared.

My thoughts are pure speculation, Adrian. 🙂

Your colleague Shefalee mentioned work done in Which? labs to study microbiological contamination of supermarket chicken, back in April last year. It should be easy and inexpensive to carry out a small trial on hand driers, maybe using toilets in motorway service areas or pubs.

Comparisons of the relative benefits of driers and paper towels seem to intended to promote products, but there is bound to be some proper comparison in the scientific literature, but that might not include high speed driers. Of course, the number of bugs left on hands is a very different issue to the number in the air.

I think Which? has done a good job over Dyson products in particular. Their early models were unreliable and not included as ‘Best Buys’ until Dyson offered an extended warranty free-of-charge.

I think this is the study being linked to: http://www.europeantissue.com/pdfs/090402-2008%20WUS%20Westminster%20University%20hygiene%20study,%20nov2008.pdf

It’s been known for decades that hot air dryers are less hygenic that properly dispensed paper towels and this more recent research suggests that overall, jet air dryers are also a source of contamination: less on the hands, but more in the general vicinity.

In fact, that was one of my OP concerns; if the basin is dirty due to poor or infrequent cleaning or, as is often the case, someone spitting in it, the air jet has the potential to blow a lot of germs over the user and into the surrounding air.

Thanks very much for finding this, Em.

Neither of the authors of this report seems to have a single peer reviewed paper so I am unconvinced about the quality of the work, and I think the experimental design is somewhat flawed.

Nevertheless, it is interesting that the Dyson Airblade dryer does result in contamination of air surrounding the dryer with microorganisms (the authors used baker’s yeast for safety) much more than an old fashioned hot air dryer. On that basis, I would expect that a modern high velocity dryer (e.g. an Airforce dryer or the new Dyson tap/dryer) would spread bugs more widely. That’s not even considering the effect of the air jet blowing bug-laden dust off the floor and other surfaces.

Washbasins are likely to be heavily contaminated and if they are below a Dyson tap/dryer then I think you are right to be concerned, Em. Having a HEPA filter will make no difference whatsoever. I think Mr Dyson needs to employ a microbiologist, certainly before making claims that his new product is hygienic. 🙂

I wonder what the main point of the drier is – just to get your hands “cosmetically” dry or to make then hygienically clean? As wavechange says, the vast majority (I suggest) of people do not wash their hands well enough to remove germs – I gather 20 seconds of scrubbing with soap and water is needed, and who does that?. You then touch other surfaces, such as door handles, that others will touch – and spread your germs – HEPA filters or not.

There appears to be a debate around the efficacy of drying vs. residual bacteria, with paper towels claimed to win – they are said to remove more by friction. A similar debate looks at costs, with operating costs favouring electric driers, but this must be offset against the disparity in capital costs. My gripe with paper towels is not their lack of green credentials but the litter they seem to create when the bin gets full – resist the temptation to push your hand in to squash them down if you want to live!
Looking back at the days of carbolic soap, roller towels, school toilets, it’s a wonder we survived at all – or perhaps it was natural immunity – no, that wasn’t commercial enough.

The people who need to wash their hands properly are those in contact with people, to prevent transmission of harmful microorganisms and viruses. It’s complicated by the fact that even healthy people can harbour things that are a problem for others. Gloves are better, but wearing gloves for an extended period or repeatedly washing hands ‘properly’ can both cause problems.

For most of us, the purpose of washing hands after using the toilet, before preparing food and after handling raw meat, etc. is to decrease the number of harmful bacteria.

Now if Mr Dyson could design a vacuum-based hand drier to suck moisture from our wet hands, that would prevent disturbing bug-laden dust in the washroom. Maybe high speed warm jets of air in conjunction with powerful suction would make the process faster. For a small consideration I could help design the Airblade Plus. 🙂

I presume the focus on driers in washrooms is the contamination of bugs from other peoples insides? But unless you wash your hands thoroughly these won’t be totally removed, so a hands-free drier is only a partial solution at best. We rely on others washing their hands as well, which doesn’t happen reliably, so however good your hygeine you will touch surfaces contaminated by others.
Would it not be better to protect yourself from other peoples bugs – for example would not a reliable anti-bacterial hand cleaning solution give the user protection, irrespective of what others do? Or perhaps a tap that dispenses an anti-bacterial hand wash.

It’s not just other people’s bugs that are the problem, it’s our own. 🙁

I really don’t think anti-bacterial hand wash is a good idea. Anything toxic to bacteria is likely to be harmful to humans. For example, if the mode of action of an anti-microbial compound is to damage the membranes of bacteria, it will also damage the membranes of human cells. (Antibiotics are an exception. For example penicillin targets the cell wall of bacteria and human cells don’t have cell walls.) I am fairly confident that some of the chemicals currently used in anti-bacterial products will be phased out. You may remember that we used to have chemicals such as carbon tetrachloride and benzene in the home, but we would not even use them in science labs because safer alternatives are available. The problem is that even though the outer layer of our skin (epidermis) is dead, it is permeable to many chemicals. Apart from that, some antibacterials are harmful to the environment, particularly if they get into watercourses. Alcohols such as isopropanol and ethanol are much safer.

One of the benefits of technology is that toilet flushes, taps, hand driers, etc can be operated without touching them, cutting down on the risk of person to person spread of bugs.

But I understand door handles are a problem, for example. Are we just displacing the problem? Why not use an alcohol-based hand treatment?

Their efficacy depends very much on the microorganism. For example, alcohol-based hand-rub has been said to be worthless for containing the spread of Clostridium difficile in hospitals. I have no idea how useful they are in dealing with faecal organisms. The search for safe anti-bacterial compounds is an important area of research.

Malcolm

I don’t think we should get the dangers of shared toilets out of perspective because they are not often implicated in the spread of disease. My concern is simply the possibility that increased use of powerful hand driers of the types already in use plus the new Dyson product could mean that we are inhaling more microorganisms. As someone who spend a few days in Stafford District General Hospital just months before the Legionella outbreak that resulted in 68 cases of Legionnaires’ disease (22 fatal) and having a chest weakness for most of my life, I am concerned about the risk of inhalation of pathogenic bacteria and viruses.

The investigation of hand cleaning methods and blown air effects etc etc.
http://www.europeantissue.com/pdfs/090402-2008%20WUS%20Westminster%20University%20hygiene%20study,%20nov2008.pdf

The payback for an air hand dryer compared to paper towels at a busy site would be well under a year according to a US vendor ….

I do urge caution about getting phobic about bacteria as the idea that bacteria and humans have to co-exist must be made clear rather than demonising “bacteria”. We can never ever be 100% “clean” in normal life so lets be realistic and not see it as an either or relationship. After all the ability to digest milk products by humans is because most of us Europeans host the right bacteria in our gut.

And science is now catching up with the concept of ” Fecal bacteriotherapy” to save lives.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fecal_bacteriotherapy

dieseltaylor

Who is trying to demonise bacteria? Not me, I assure you. Some are essential to our existence and most are benign. But ingesting or inhaling certain bacteria can make you sick – even those bacteria that live in our own bowels.

The Wikipedia reference refers to alteration of the microbial flora of the gut, which has absolutely no relevance to the discussion.

My intention was to point out that hand driers that produce a powerful jet of air could mean that we are inhaling bugs from the floor, etc. and from people’s hands. Hopefully manufacturers of these dryers have thought of this and conducted tests. Every microbiologist knows that draughts can cause contamination due to bacteria etc. carried in room air.

I assure you that everyone probably understands that bacteria, dust, and viruses all travel and that one does not need to be any sort of scientist to understand it.

The point I was making is that the general public are bombarded with “kill all known germs” and Microban adverts plus only scare stories from the tabloids. Whilst you personally may appreciate that we cannot exist with bacteria not everyone does. Your concentration heavily on the dangers of blown bacteria in this instance might be be misconstrued as highlighting a high risk is involved for the general public.

It perhaps ought to be made clear that man has evolved in the company of bacteria, and indeed with the everyday assistance of bacteria. People will die but we must beware of the hyping effect – man is very poor at assessing risk and probability. Plenty of press and misguided, manufacturers with sales agendas, or misleadingly edited reports can lead to pointless stress to the public.

I do believe every scare story needs to be qualified by proper statistics on chances of the event happening. For instance what are the current statistics on exploding washing machines? How prevalent are exploding washing machines ….

I’m not sure that Which? Conversation is the best medium to start a scare story. 🙂

Respiratory infections may not be as dramatic as heart attacks, strokes and cancer, but they cause a lot of illness and deaths. I believe that I am perfectly justified in voicing my concerns about a potential new route for infections. It’s not me that has made the more emotive comments here. I don’t have anti-bacterial handwash, sprays, etc. in my home and I don’t go around sterilising work surfaces. I use hot soapy water for cleaning, though I do use bleach on chopping boards etc that have been in contact with raw meat.

I certainly agree about the silly hype by manufacturers of cleaning products etc.

dieseltaylor, I agree that we can get paranoid about germs, and that getting too worked up about the niceties of air driers and paper towels is possibly going too far. The trouble is we all worry that, however advanced medical science has become, something nasty can still strike us down that may not be curable. Flu, flesh-eating bugs (sorry – you’ll have the name), food poisoning, norovirus (this has recently crippled a friend by attacking the nerve endings) and so on. It can be frightening knowing we are still vulnerable, and commercially this can be preyed upon.
You are right in that, looking at it coldly, it is about the likelihood or degree of risk and we need to accept life has it’s risks – road accidents, lightning, electrocution, falling trees, disease can all hit us – we cannot prevent totally, just mitigate the chances by taking reasonable precautions.

If you are reading this Conversation from the bottom up, as some of us do, you might like to start at the beginning with this one unless you’ve already had your dinner . . . or have a strong stomach and like washroom stories.

I’m not sure saying ‘bottom up’ was the most apt use of words 😉

Cumbria Smithy says:
8 February 2013

Whether or not this device works, it will not last long in a public environment. It’s just too tempting to get hold of it and wrench it out of the washbasin. Children and young lads will be the main culprits. If I was in charge of such facilities I would wait until the thing is redesigned to be as vandal-proof as possible, and then consider buying them.

Whether laser-welded or soldered, one of these won’t last more than a few weeks in a motorway services.

Seems a good idea but like the Dyson driers, which I’ve only seen in London….it will be top end washrooms that have them. The average Public Toilet or Pub/Restaurant waste their money on useless driers…..Like a lot of others I see…..I turn on the drier…realise it is useless and walk away with wet hands, leaving the drier blowing. I wonder if wheelchair users can stretch across to access this new type of washer/drier?

I have encountered quite a few Dyson Airblade driers outside London. They are much more effective than most of the driers currently in use. A company installing these driers is likely to negotiate a large discount in price, and it will be the same with Dyson’s new product.

I understand copper and brass are germicidal (in seconds) so why have we stainless steel and anodised aluminium door handles. Presumably they don’t show they have not been cleaned! So there is a consumer product for Which to test. There might be some with a suitable copper or brass content which look trendy. (Copper is probably more expensive but only coppers compared to £999.)
While on the subject why not look at coinage the old silver and copper were safer. Is the new stuff fit for purpose. Someone asked why we survived in the old days- many knobs were brass then.
Anyway, Why do toilets blocks in some lobby complexes have doors where when you open the door there is not line of site of anything but a wall as you turn a corner or they could be designed in such a way.

felix knott. says:
10 February 2013

Vacuum cleaner gripe: My plea is for standardisation of tube diameter so that accessories are interchangeable. My new Bosch bagless only has a rectangular brush and short flat blade, whereas I have a cupboard full of more useful tools from previous machines none of which fit…deliberate policy no doubt.

You can get a stepped rubber adaptor for about £5. They are used by woodworkers to connect power tools to a dust extractor. You might find one that fits your Bosch, depending on the diameter of the hose.

Cumbria Smithy says:
30 March 2013

I can’t see why any sensible property manager would want to install this device. It would need to be bolted to a steel bar which was set in the concrete floor below the sink to prevent it being wrenched off its mounting, and an electrical supply would be required at every washbasin. Additionally the power and water would need to be carefully separated until the point of connection in the device itself for obvious reasons. Dyson’s biggest mistake to date IMHO.

Gosh – you must live in a rough area. I have not seen any Dyson Airblade hand driers that have been vandalised.

Good earth bonding and use of an RCD is important for the Airblade Tap, just as it is for instantaneous electric water heaters.

Cumbria Smithy says:
30 March 2013

The Airblade hand driers are completely different and superb, especially the ‘V’ which I’ve used in a few motorway service stations. The V is a smooth, solid box which has very little to tempt a child or youth to grab it and ‘play motorbikes’ with it … unlike the new tap.

Similarly the instantaneous electric water heaters are generally situated out of sight or reach, and they too are solid boxes, so they don’t present quite the same temptation to vandals.

Maybe a note warning that the tap could cause electrocution if vandalised.

Not that it would be politically correct to wish harm on vandals. 🙂

I love the airdriers but why hasn’t Dyson developed a roombody drier? It would make a lot of sense. A whole room or just a wall to stand under as water strips the body after a shower. It would eliminate dirty towels forever as well as reduce the weekly wash.

The Dyson Airblade V hand dryer and other high velocity hand dryers must be very good at stirring up dust that has settled on the floor of toilets. Toilets are not the cleanest places and that dust could contain dangerous faecal bacteria. I predict that sooner or later this will be a recognised hazard and we will see current high speed dryers replaced with something better. The original Airblade dryer was better in that it did not blow air downwards. Incidentally, I’m not paranoid about the hazards of bugs and never use antibacterial products.

I’m not sure about a body drier but at least it would be used after showering when people are reasonably clean.