Dyson’s air-purifying headphones took 6 years R&D

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Best known for its vacuum cleaners, tech brand Dyson has entered the wearables market with these air-purifying headphones that took six years of development.

The Dyson Zone are a set of headphones like you’ve never seen, with a mask attached to the front that filters the air you breathe.

While the device looks like something that was developed in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dyson say that the headphones pre-date the pandemic and were designed to tackle air pollution in cities.

Originally designed as a snorkel-like clean air mouthpiece paired with a backpack, the Dyson Zone “evolved dramatically” over its six years in development phase, says the company.

More than 500 prototypes were created with the development team eventually deciding on a design that included “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.”

Dyson engineers even used a breathing manikin fitted with medical-grade mechanical lungs and sensing equipment to replicate human breathing patterns in a controlled chamber.

They then measured the pollution level within the manikin’s nose and throat to determine the filtration efficacy of those particles which would otherwise end up in the artificial lung.

The headphones were Dyson’s first-ever acoustic technology and in developing the sound system the engineers decided “not to rely on a ‘golden listener’ approach that many others do.” Instead, Dyson’s team of audio engineers and acousticians relied on metrics, backed up with extensive listening trials.

The engineers also had to develop an advanced noise cancellation system to cut out the noise produced by the air-purifying system.

The air-purifying headphones were engineered by teams across the UK, Singapore, Malaysia and China. Dyson said the headphones have been subject to numerous durability tests including in temperature-controlled chambers, drop-testing, material and fabric wear testing and button robustness.