Meet the Hairblade: Dyson working on ‘silent’ hairdryer

Meet the Hairblade: Dyson working on ‘silent’ hairdryer

Dyson, the British engineering firm, is developing a new type of hairdryer that is much quieter than current appliances


Drawings of the hairdryer contained within Dyson’s patent application Photo: IPO/Dyson

By Richard Gray, Science correspondent

10:09AM BST 18 Oct 2013


They have already revolutionised the vacuum cleaner, now Dyson is attempting to reinvent another household item – by creating a quiet hairdryer. As most households will know, traditional hairdryers can be loud – creating noise in excess of 70 decibels – due to the powerful fans they use to blow air onto hair. However, new patent applications lodged by engineering company Dyson reveal plans for a new type of hairdryer that is far quieter than current models.

The company rarely talks about technology it is developing and prefers to keep its projects secret until a product is ready.

In the past the firm has fallen foul of industrial espionage.

However six new patent applications published this month, reveal details of the new hairdryer technology.

Dyson’s engineers claim that by using a network of ducts and tubes in the handle of the device, they can increase the flow of air it produces while using a smaller fan.

Along with materials to introduce soundproofing and reduce vibration, the company says this should make the hairdryer much quieter.

It is a development that will be welcomed by households around the country who have to endure the din created by traditional hairdryers.

In the patents, entitled “hand held blower with heater”, Dyson explains how it will use fluid dynamics to blow air more efficiently.

It said: “Traditional hairdryers are essentially an open tube with a fan for drawing fluid into the tube.

“This makes them noisy unless a big slow fan is used, but then a big motor is required which increases weight.

“The provision of a long fluid flow path through the body and ducting arrangement reduces the noise produced.”

A diagram from the patent application showing how air would flow around the hairdryer (IPO/Dyson)

Sir James Dyson first found fame after inventing bagless vacuum cleaners that use cyclone of air to improve suction.

His company has since reinvented a range of other domestic technologies, with mixed success.

Dyson’s range of bladeless fans and heaters have proved to be popular, however an attempt to produce a washing machine was less successful.

Dyson hand dryers, which use a blade of air to wipe water off hands, now appear public bathrooms around the world.

The company’s Airblade Tap, which cost more than £1,000, received a mixed reception when it was unveiled earlier this year.

The device is an all-in-one tap that offers both water and air jets to dry hands.

The latest patents suggest Dyson is now aiming to make a return to the domestic market by tackling another product that is used in almost every home.

The design outlined for the new hairdryer looks a little like its hand-held vacuum cleaners.

The patent states that air is drawn into the device through a filter to remove dust and other objects.

A small fan housed in the handle draws some of the air down through a looped path before injected it back into the main flow of air.

It is likely to be driven by one of Dyson’s small but powerful motors that are used in its other devices.

Although not outlined in the patent, the hairdryer has a nozzle that can presumably be fitted with a range of accessories like a standard hairdryer.

Dyson claims that using a looped or zigzagged path for the air to travel through can reduce the noise produced by the appliance.

A small fan in the base of the handle would draw half of the air drawn into the hairdryer down into ducts that run through the handle and around the main tube.

This air would pass over a heating element before being injected back into the main flow close to the nozzle, creating a jet of hot air.

Dyson proposes lining the ducts and tubes inside the handle with felt or foam to also help absorb sound and vibrations.

The result, Dyson claims, is a much quieter hairdryer. The patent also mentions other applications such devices can be used for, such as drying paint.

It said: “The provision of a hairdryer in which the fan assembly only processes part of the flow is advantageous for a number of reasons.

“As less fluid is drawn in, the motor of the fan assembly can be smaller and lighter in weight, the noise produced by the fan assembly can be reduced as there is less flow thorough the fan, this can result in a smaller and or more compact hairdryer which uses less power.

“The noise of the hairdryer is reduced by having a long fluid flow path, a coiled, looped, curves, s-shaped, zigzagged fluid flow path and frequency attenuating lining material.”

Dyson said that it was not able to comment on the patents.

A statement released by the company said: “Dyson holds over 3,500 patents and patent applications for over 500 inventions.

“Our 1,500 engineers constantly develop new technology and regularly file patents.”


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (, the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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