Dyson patent hints at air-scrubbing headphones
Dyson is well-known for its powerful and expensive vacuum cleaners, and also makes other stuff like hair dryers and air purifiers. So far, the company hasn't made any headphones, but a recently-published patent shows that its engineers are certainly thinking about it. And these cans are designed to provide the wearer with a steady supply of filtered air.
The patent was originally filed with the UK's Intellectual Property Office on July 23, 2018, and doesn't necessarily mean that Dyson is about to enter the headphones market, or that the idea is anything more than that – an idea. But the fact that the patent was published at the end of last month just might be a sign that the company will take the design to the next level.
Patent GB2575812 describes a head wearable air purifier, but diving into the accompanying documents shows that the device will do double duty as headphones. The speaker driver assemblies will be home to motor-driven impellers (between 35 and 40 mm in diameter) for creating airflow through filters – possibly comprising particulate and chemical elements. This filtered air will then be directed along a nozzle assembly to blow out over the wearer's mouth/nose. This assembly can be moved up towards the headband when not in use.
There are feedback and feedforward microphones for active noise cancellation, though whether this will be enough to effectively remove the sound of the fans from the listening experience remains to be seen. Wireless communication modules are also mentioned, but this seems to relate to status checking by the user rather than streaming music through the speakers.
The patent can be viewed online, and is accompanied by 20 drawings that show how Dyson expects the air-purifying headphones to work.
As we mentioned before though, that this patent exists doesn't mean that these headphones will ever be produced. But in a world where, as Dyson notes, "air pollution is an increasing problem and a variety of air pollutants have known or suspected harmful effects on human health," this is certainly an interesting idea.