By Michael Northcott Tuesday, 05 February 2013

Dyson unveils £1,000 washer-dryer tap

We're not sure that Dyson's market is going to be very big for its next product: a tap that washes and dries your hands, but which sells for a grand.

Always rolling out innovative new ways of cleaning dirt or drying hands, Dyson has unveiled its latest set of products, one of which includes a tap that will wash your hands and then dry them as well, all in a much more hygienic way than the status quo, you understand. Just how much people will be willing to pay for marginal increase in hygiene levels (remember, they are already washing their hands), is anybody’s guess.

Still, the new product uses infrared to find out where your hands are and then release water from the main stem. There are then two branches off the main stem which have air outlets – these blast extremely fast-moving sheets of cold air over your hands, drying them at super-speeds.

According to a review from tech website Wired, the best thing about the device was that both washing and drying your hands is done over the sink, avoiding the irritating problem of water dropping or blowing onto the floor of your bathroom or kitchen. Dyson says the device will dry your hands in about 12 seconds.

The other devices on their way are the Airblade V dryer, which is a smaller version (60% smaller) of the space age hand dryers in expensive corporate toilets everywhere, and which weigh a bit less as they are made of polycarbonate.

The firm is keen to stress that its Airblade products force air through tiny holes and vents at speeds of up to 430mph, which has the effect of virtually scraping water off your skin instead of simply speeding up the evaporation process (which is what the hot dryers do).

For the techies out there, a fascinating fact is that the new devices use the new V4 ‘brushless’ motor, which accelerates from 0 – 90,000 revs per minute in less than a second. It uses digital pulse technology to achieve this (whatever that is), and can shift about 162,000 cubic metres of air during its useful life. That’s enough air to inflate more than 25 million normal-sized balloons. Understandably, it also cost £26.9m to create the technology, and Dyson has 110 patents on it, as well as another 100 pending.

One more geeky fact for you: apparently the hand dryers use a thing called a high-efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter which eradicates 99.9% of the bacteria found in the air in a bathroom – before the air actually reaches your hands. So it’s super hygienic. 

We’re still struggling with the £1,000 price tag, but then, we reckon the firm is aiming more at large companies that want to impress their clients with posh toilets. Not to mention that Dyson insists the running costs of one of its devices are 15x lower than the cost of replenishing paper towels all the time. Fair play.

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