Sir James Dyson's tap that gets you wet – and then dry again
First it was a boat with wheels, then a wheelbarrow with a ball. Then a vacuum cleaner without a bag, a super-powered hand-dryer and a fan without blades.
And now, after seven years and millions of pounds of development, the next invention from Dyson’s Wiltshire ideas factory is: a tap that also dries your hands.
The Dyson Airblade Tap was revealed to the world late last night at a launch in New York, but was created, tried, tested and welded in top secret conditions at the Dyson headquarters in Malmesbury.
The device effectively combines a high-tech infra-red sensor water tap with the technology used in the Airblade hand-dryers that are fast becoming commonplace in offices, hotels, service stations and workplaces around the world.
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At £1,000 pounds each, the Airblade Tap won’t exactly be priced to be ubiquitous in our homes just yet – the firm has designs on the commercial market, for hotels, clubs, pubs and offices – although a spokesman for Dyson said it would “wait and see” if it became the next must-have for upmarket home owners.
The tap was made possible by tweaks to the Airblade technology, which has amazed most and frightened some with the way it has blasted a thin sheet of air at hundreds of miles an hour over the wet hands of people in motorway service stations over the past few years.
Smaller and smaller digital motors – another Dyson invention – mean that now it can be included in a tap, and infra-red sensors will pinpoint hand positions and release water from the tap, said a spokesman.
“Once hands are wet and drying is requested, integrated circuitry computes the information and activates the latest Dyson digital motor, creating two high velocity sheets of air on the tap’s branches.
“Using Airblade technology, the hand-dryer sends sheets of 430mph unheated filtered air towards hands, literally scraping them dry. Hands are dry in 12 seconds,” he added.
The firm had to bring in experts in steel laser-welding to create its usually-plastic products in the metal. Sir James Dyson said the important thing was that now people could dry their hands without getting water all over them or the floor.
“Using laser cutting techniques to manipulate marine-grade steel, Dyson engineers have created an intuitive, high performance tap,” said Sir James. “Two branches channel high velocity air to literally scrape water from hands and into the sink – not the floor.”
Dyson said the tap was tested the equivalent of 213 million times and for commercial buyers, the product is cheaper – it costs £48 a year to run and is able to “dry 15 pairs of hands for the price of a paper towel”.
The firm also launched two new products to add to its range yesterday – a re-engineered upgrade to the Airblade hand-dryer and a new, V-shaped one.