Dyson is a versatile brand. You've got your Dyson vacuum cleaners, Dyson air purifiers and even Dyson hair dryers. Then there was that Dyson car but… oh well. Recently, a Dyson patent filing suggested it could be dipping its toe into the headphones industry, but not because it wants to target the lucrative noise cancelling headphones market. No, the British-born company wants to use headphones as a way to incorporate a compact version of its air purifer filter into a wearable, more 'socially acceptable' form. You know: more socially acceptable than dragging around an actual air purifier attached to a car battery.
The idea is for a hybrid face mask slash headphones thing, and while the patent goes into more detail on motivations behind the idea, possible ways it could be implemented, yadda yadda, it's accompanied by the usual boring line drawings. That's where designer Sarang Sheth of Yanko Design comes in. Sarang has taken the patent and come up with concept images that are EXACTLY like what Dyson headphones would look like. We doubt Dyson will make any such thing IRL, but the draftsmanship, colour palettes and design language here are spot on.
The new Dyson CleanAirPods (working title), from every angleImage 1 of 7
The patent states that the drivers in the ear cups will share their space with an air purifier that will deliver filtered air to the wearer's mouth and nose through the swivel band that sits over the headphones' headband, and can be drawn down over the mouth when needed.
Dyson highlights the benefits of wearing face masks as a whole in areas with high levels of air pollution, but points out the obvious cons of wandering around with half of your face obscured, like making "normal breathing more laborious", and being a hindrance in every day conversations. In today's tech-filled world, the standard face masks can also interfere smartphones that use face recognition to unlock.
The patent goes on to describe attempts at wearable air purifiers that sit around the neck, explaining that they're less effective for shooting filtered air into noses and mouths from that far away, and are going to be less accurate.
The solution is an unobtrusive filter using Dyson's technology that's discreet to the point of being unnoticeable when stowed away alongside the headphone band, and doesn't smother half of your face when in use.
With air filters sucking and puffing air around the user's head in the same housing as the drivers, things could get a tad noisy. So while it's an interesting idea, given that it would be Dyson's first foray into the audio world, it would make more sense to bring a partner on board who already knows their stuff, sound-wise. Fellow Brit tech icon Bowers & Wilkins probably needs the money right now…
As with all patents, it might not bear fruit. We're kidding: it won't bear fruit; can you imagine how fast the filter would get clogged on any major underground transit system? But the concept images are fantastic. Now check out some actual Dyson products.