Dyson unveils latest high-tech invention: a tap with built-in dryer
THE perils of negotiating the length of a washroom with dripping hands could soon be a thing of the past, after the British inventor Sir James Dyson unveiled his latest creation — a tap with a built-in dryer.
Using technology that is the basis of his company’s Airblade dryer — in which water is blown off by cold air instead of using hot air like conventional dryers — the device uses a 430mph blast from wings either side of the tap, drying hands in just 12 seconds.
While the price of £999 may put it out of the reach of most domestic users, Sir James is confident it will be a success in the commercial sector as it can dry 15 people’s hands for the cost of a single paper towel.
Made from engineering-grade steel, the Airblade Tap is attached to a digital motor in a separate unit which also contains springs and silencers to minimise vibration and noise.
Infrared sensors control when water is produced and when air is blown on the hands to dry them.
“Currently you wash your hands then you drip your way across the floor and then you queue up to dry your hands,” Sir James said.
“Now you’ve got your own space; you wash your hands, you’re in the sink and you walk away. There’s none of that navigating. Two branches channel high velocity air to literally scrape water from hands and into the sink — not the floor.”
The Airblade Tap reduces drying time by a quarter, Sir James said, and its annual running costs are a fifth of those for a conventional hand dryer.
He claimed the new design was “sort of revolutionary”, and said he hoped that even “hard-headed businessmen or women responsible for washroom budgets” would appreciate the cost savings and lower environmental impact.
The taps include a picture of hands on the dryer “wings”, but Sir James said that in trials, “people get it even without the diagram”.
Sir James said that during the tap’s development his team simulated hand washing 213 million times and that in its lifetime the digital motor shifts enough air to fill 26 million balloons.
The new 1600w digital motor claims to be the world’s smallest, and reaches 90,000rpm in 0.7 seconds. The Airblade Tap is covered by 210 patents and costs £48 per year to run.
It will initially be aimed at commercial washrooms, but Sir James said that he also expected some domestic installations when the product becomes available later this year.
“It would be lovely if people bought it for their homes and I hope further down the road it will happen,” he said.
“Our target market is currently washrooms and we haven’t designed it with the intention of going in to most people’s homes. But I’m sure it’ll go domestic in future.”
Sir James set up Dyson in 1993 and made his name with bagless vacuum cleaners.
His first invention was a wheelbarrow using a ball instead of a wheel.