A fan with no blades? Sounds impossible, but when coming from the innovating mind of James Dyson (of the nifty, newfangled vacuum cleaners and hand dryers), maybe it's not so impossible. Then again, maybe that's why Dyson is calling his newest creation the Dyson Air Multiplier instead of the Dyson fan.
Well, there is a fan of sorts in the base of the unit, but it's off limits to users because it's totally enclosed.
"There's a motor in the bottom that powers a turbo-charged impeller," Dyson told Switched, when asked to explain how his latest creation works. "It's essentially a 3-D fan that gives a good combination of flow and pressure." According to Dyson, the air this powerful little fan creates is pushed up into that round thing at the top -- also known as the 'loop amplifier' -- which splits the flow in two and pushes it through the loop and out a 1.3 millimeter (about .05 inches) slit, or annulus, all along the back (don't worry, we had to look annulus up, too). This process creates a jet stream that sucks in air from the back and sides, creating a very powerful and smooth flow of air to cool kids, dogs and rooms alike, with no danger of injury.
Dyson came up with the idea when he noticed greater airflow being created by the extra air that was getting sucked into Dyson Airblade hand dryer. "It was an interesting principle," recalls the vacuum cleaner maestro. "I thought, 'let's develop this.'" So, he and his team decided to apply some of that process into the new 'fan.' Besides the obvious safety issues and the powerful airflow ("about 119 gallons a second," says Dyson), what are some of the other advantages of the air multiplier?
"The air it delivers is very smooth, like a nice breeze on your face," explains Dyson. "The blades on conventional fans chop up the air, which kind of slaps you in a rather unpleasant way and one of the main reasons people don't like to sit in front of fans." Really? Well, maybe kids and dogs still like to sit in front of fans, if only to make wacky and choppy vocal effects, or to cool off after a hot day outside (unfortunately, you won't get that weird chopped-up vocal effect with the smooth air of the Air Multiplier -- we tried it).
We're not sure many people are going to notice the difference between a conventional fan and the air multiplier in terms of the actual steadiness of the air stream, but we'll let you know if more than a half day with the thing reveals more on that particular feature. We did hear some slight buffeting in our ears with our conventional fan versus the Air Multiplier, but we're not sure it's a deal breaker for our standard, bladed fans, especially when the 10-inch model costs $300 (the 12-inch models go for $330).
That said, if you have kids, dogs, or cats, then you probably won't mind forking out the extra dough. "Children can stuff their heads into this if they want to," says Dyson. "My grand kids have already." If you don't believe him, check out the video below, in which a mom puts her baby right into the Dyson Air Multiplier (thanks, Daily Mail).
The lack of blades also means the Air Multiplier doesn't need to be cleaned or dusted (at least not heavily). We also like that it has a 'dimmer' switch instead of the usual slow, medium, and fast settings on conventional fans. This means you can set the intensity of the airflow to exactly what you need, instead of being forced into one of three speeds. And, like all Dyson products, it looks cool. For more pictures of the thing, check out the write-up and images on Engadget.
The Dyson Air Multiplier ($300-$329) is available now at The Conran Shop in New York, Luminaire in Chicago and Miami, and Twentieth in Los Angeles. It's not available online yet, but eventually you'll be able to find it on dyson.com, no doubt.
Home appliances generally haven't been at the forefront of the green movement. While the Energy Star rating on some household gadgets has helped eco-warriors reduce their carbon footprint (and saved homeowners some money), it doesn't hold a candle to the devices that are designed to be green from the get-go. Switched.com decided to dig a little deeper – and found a dozen products that are truly earth-friendly.
1. Xeros washing machine
Though still a prototype, this new washer promises to clean clothes with just one cup of water and thousands of nylon beads that absorb dirt and stains, with a carbon footprint that's 40-percent less than the current most efficient washing machine. Initially, Xeros will only be available commercially, but the home market will follow soon after.
2. Equator 375 Refrigerator
This refrigerator/freezer only uses $50 of electricity per year. It's also quieter, since the components are sealed in. The downside is you'll have to manually defrost the freezer and -- at about six feet tall two feet wide -- it's a bit smaller than your average Frigidaire.
3. Aeromatic oven
It won't make dinner for four (well, not quickly), but this high-efficiency standalone oven will grill, broil, bake, fry, toast, steam and roast your smaller meals in about as much time as it would take to cook 'em in a microwave (but using about 80-percent less energy).
4. Bosch Evolution 800 Plus
Dishwashers are big energy hogs, but this Bosch model is 160-percent more efficient than traditional models -- with two eco-friendly modes and the capacity for 15 place settings. Be warned, though: Efficiency comes with a hefty $1,650-plus price tag.
5. Tankless Hot Water Heater
Ditch the old-fashioned water heater! Tankless systems can lower your costs and help you save time, as delivery of hot water is instantaneous. Up-front costs are high, though -- so it will be a while before you recoup the investment.
6. AO Smith Vertex 100
If you already have a tank water heater setup, the Vertex 100 is the way to go. It boasts a 90-percent efficiency rating, better than anything else on the market. That means a 30-percent savings on your utility bill.
7. Motion sensor lights
Parents! No longer will you have to yell at your children for leaving the lights on when they leave the room. The Levion Decora 150 switch senses when the room is empty and kills the lights, saving you money in the process.
8. Toilet Lid Sink
Wash your hands -- with toilet water? Well, technically, yes, but it's hygienic. As you flush, clean water from the tank is first sent through the spigot to dispense for hand-washing, then it heads down to finish its original mission. It may sound silly, but give this innovation a chance, especially considering that most of us flush our waste with pristine and clean fresh water, only to send it off to the sewer.
9. Santerra Green Composting Toilets
Poo and pee is 90-percent water. This toilet/composter evaporates your, um, 'business' then turns what's left into compost. It promises to be odorless and save water, which is nice -- but the required periodic maintenance and emptying gives us pause.