Genius or flop? Dyson unveils bizarre headphones with air filter
The concept of combining noise-cancelling headphones with a built-in air purifier sounds like something out of a dystopian sci-fi film taking place in a world with high-tech but poor air quality. However, it's actually a real device — one that you'll soon be able to buy.
After six years of development and dozens of prototypes, Dyson has finally introduced The Zone, its first foray into the wearables market.
The Zone is a pair of noise-cancelling over-ear headphones that "simultaneously deliver immersive sound to the ears and purified airflow to the nose and mouth," thanks to an odd-looking magnetic face visor. It's the company's strangest and most ambitious product yet, addressing "urban issues of air quality and noise pollution."
What is the Dyson Zone?
You may think the new product is a way to capitalize pandemic-related concerns about clean air. However, Dyson has actually been working on this project for several years. According to the company, its primary focus is helping people avoid urban air pollution.
In fact, there've been rumors that Dyson was working on such a device for years. Like back in 2018, when Bloomberg reported that Dyson was working on an air purifier-headphone combo. Then in 2020, Dyson applied for a patent for a new set of headphones with a personal, integrated air filter.
While many were skeptical that this frivolous product would ever see the light of day, the product is about to become available for purchase sometime this year.
An air filter — for your face
While the headphones filter out both air and noise pollution, the latter takes center stage.
"Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go." Jake Dyson, chief engineer, explained. "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 miniaturized air pumps. After six years in development, we’re excited to deliver pure air and pure audio, anywhere."
Employing the same air compression technology as Dyson's home air purifiers, the visor has four air purifying modes: low, medium, high, and auto. Apparently, the air-filtration component doesn't touch your face but rather sits in front of it. Moreover, the visor can be removed if you just want to use it as only headphones.
"The compressors in each ear cup draw air through the dual-layer filters and project two streams of purified air to the wearer's nose and mouth, channeled through the non-contact visor," Dyson stated. "Sculpted returns on the visor ensure purified airflow is kept near to the nose and mouth and diluted as little as possible by external crosswinds."
According to Dyson, the Zone can filter out up to 99 percent of particle pollution. However, it should also be noted that the filters aren’t reusable and need to be replaced after about roughly a year depending on how much air pollution you encounter.
Creepy or cool?
It remains to be seen whether Dyson's radical clean-air blowing headphones will transform the way people live or if they will just look like a not-so-funny joke.
The internet's reaction to the new product has been mixed. While some are eager to get a one-of-a-kind item for their wardrobe, others are skeptical, arguing that we should clean up air pollution in cities rather than cosplaying as a character in Blade Runner. Some even thought Dyson released their April Fools' Day joke early.
Of course, there were also nods to legendary cinematic gadgets, such as Amanda's reverse bear trap in the Saw franchise.
The mask's resemblance to Bane's mask in the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises was also noted several times.
Dyson Announces Air-Purifying Headphones With Active Noise-Canceling pic.twitter.com/e9yBJ7MVuC— Taylor Fleming (Taylor's Version) (@TaylorTFleming) March 30, 2022
Meanwhile, there have been discussions regarding the product's potentially unsanitary nature, particularly in the context of a pandemic caused by a virus that assaults the respiratory system. Nonetheless, only time will tell whether the product will stick or not.