Friday 30 September 2016

Dyson Supersonic hairdryer: It's eight times faster, won't damage your hair but it isn't cheap

Rebecca Burn-Callander

Published 27/04/2016 | 08:40

Dyson Supersonic
Dyson Supersonic

Billionaire inventor Sir James Dyson will today unveil his “labour of love”, a new hairdryer that has been four years in the making and cost £50m to develop.

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The Dyson Supersonic, to be launched in Tokyo, is his first foray into the beauty sector and a major departure from the company’s existing industrial product range. However, similar technology is used to generate airflow in Dyson’s vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and fan.

“Four years ago we took it upon ourselves to become experts in hair science and styling,” Mr Dyson told the Daily Telegraph. “We invested £50m into this new technology, creating new and bespoke hair laboratories in our R&D lab in Wiltshire.”

Mr Dyson said that he decided to create a hairdryer because of issues with existing models.  “With the Dyson Supersonic our priority is about alleviating the frustrations with conventional machines which are unwieldy, tend to have weak airflow, and have the ability to damage your hair,” he said.

“At Dyson we develop products to solve problems. It isn’t about making a quick buck.”

Dyson collaborated with hair styling expert Akin Konizi, the man behind Hob Salons, to develop the new product.

Dyson supersonic
Dyson supersonic

Traditional hairdryers, which suck air in through a grill, can get clogged with fluff and dust, driving up the temperature inside the machine to up to 230-degrees, damaging hair.

According to a Dyson spokesman, the new Dyson hairdryer cannot exceed 150-degrees.

Mr Dyson said that it had been a challenge to keep the new product under wraps. “It has been a labour of love for myself and my engineers from idea to reality,” he said.  

“We are well practised at keeping secrets but with such new, different and exciting technology it is difficult to keep it under wraps.”

It is understood that the engineers working on the product were banned from speaking to family members or partners about their work to prevent the news from leaking.

The facility went through 1,000 miles of hair to test the new system, and even developed a new robot to test prototype hairdryers against rivals.

The product is named Supersonic because it cuts out one noise frequency completely to make the hairdryer much quieter than traditional models. Dyson has previously filed a patent for a silent hairdryer; the Supersonic is not silent but speaking voices are audible over the sound of the miniaturised motor, and the airflow.

The new machine, which comes with precision drying attachments and a rubber mat to prevent the Supersonic flying off the table when switched on because of the high-speed air generated, will retail at €399, and come in both pink and white models.

A Dyson Supersonic for professionals has also been launched for salons and stylists. It is understood that a cordless version of the Supersonic could be made available in due course.

Mr Dyson decided to launch the product in Tokyo because it was the first market to buy his bagless vacuum cleaner when European distributors said there was no demand for it.

The hairdryer is one of 100 new products currently in development, Mr Dyson revealed. “This year we ramped up our spending to £5m a week,” he said. “[The hairdryer] has launched but the teams have to remain tight-lipped about what else is coming.” 

The company recently revealed a £100m investment in battery technology over the past five years. A Dyson car has been mooted.

A spokesman for the company said that Dyson is not looking to abandon the vacuum cleaner market but wants to exploit its intellectual property in complementary sectors.

Mr Dyson has been involved in high-profile spats with European regulators over energy labelling on vacuum cleaners, and recently lost a legal battle against Bosch over whether the German brand was misleading customers as to the energy efficiency of its machines.

Last year, Dyson’s revenue rose 26pc to £1.7bn and profits were 19pc higher at £448m.

Telegraph.co.uk

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