Dyson, a company known for its high-performance (and high-priced) vacuum cleaners, hair care products and fans has entered the wearable space with the introduction of Dyson Zone, which the company describes as “air purifying headphones.”

Basically, they’re a set of wireless noise-cancelling headphones with a built-in air purifier that covers your nose. And while they look like they were designed with the pandemic in mind, they’ve actually been under development for six years… and it kind of shows, because while the Dyson Zone is designed to protect the wearer from air pollution, it’s not a medical-grade solution and doesn’t fully cover your mouth for full protection against the virus.

It also doesn’t protect the folks around you from anything you breathe out – in fact, it probably does the opposite, increasing the risks of contracting COVID-19 from anyone who’s infected and wearing one of these things.

As maker Naomi Wu explains in a Twitter thread, this thing is basically a “snot cannon” that takes the particles you breathe out and projects across greater distances since it has fans that move air outward.

While the idea of a wearable device to protect users from air pollution isn’t necessarily a bad one, Wu suggests that the Dyson Zone was designed for a pre-COVID world, and wearable air purifiers released now should include 2-way filtration so that it not only cleans the air coming in, but also the air you breathe out.

Dyson does plan to offer a mask attachment that will allow you to cover the already bulky-looking Dyson Zone to comply with masking mandates. But it’s unclear how effective that will be.

It’s also unclear how much you’ll have to pay for this wearable air purifier. It’s expected to go on sale in select markets this fall, and pricing will be revealed closer to launch.

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9 replies on “Lilbits: Maybe a wearable air purifier that sprays your breath outward isn’t such a great idea in 2022?”

  1. Jmo, but people that are wearing something like this or an N95 with breather valves, are more likely to do so consistently, and are less likely to catch an airborne disease, so therefore are less likely to spread it to others.

    During the past year (in the US), I’ve been more concerned about protecting myself, my family and anyone that’s immunocompromised. Everyone else was free to continue wearing whatever mask they felt was adequate if they wanted or could’ve just gotten the damn vaccine like most everyone else has..

    Above average quality KN95s (~$3 each) with exhalation valves have served me very well through the past 2 years.

  2. I watched the videos on their site. Seems like they only tested the quality of breathed in air using a dummy in a controlled lab environment and not outside in realistic situations.

    If you’re concerned about protecting yourself from air pollution (ie. not source control for viruses) and still being able to breathe well, then just get a mask with an exhalation valve. No batteries needed.

  3. I think people are over reacting to this product on account of getting sick with respiratory viruses becoming a sign of moral and spiritual failure, either your own or that of someone around you.
    It still doesn’t make much sense in any situation I can think of compared to just a regular air purifier, p100 respirator, or whatever mask the government swears will make a difference this year.

  4. Let’s assume there was no pandemic or it’s over and people have forgotten about seasonal/other viruses could still be transmitted more easily when you’re intentionally blowing it everywhere like a sprinkler, how well would this thing clean the air you’re actually breathing? For example, people wear masks when they’re in smogy/polluted areas.

    My knee jerk reaction to such an open air design for something like this seems like it’ll be fairly ineffective at what it’s supposed to be doing. More of a placebo affect plus face cooler.

    1. Yeah, ignoring how this product is too late, should have pivoted or even cancelled post-2020, without numbers from tests not done by Dyson in real world scenarios, I’m skeptical this improves the air you’re actually breathing much.

      I bet just walking around or even moving your head would cancel out much of the flow of clean air let alone a light breeze/wind.

  5. Actually it might just work, in my opinion. People have very little attention span and brain bandwidth, if the media will keep talking only about the oh so terrible war in Ukraine everyone will forget that Covid 19 even existed, especially in those countries where mask and vaccine requirements have been already abandoned/relaxed.

  6. For the Dyson device and assuming we’re in a pre-pandemic age, how effective would it actually be in purifying the air you’re breathing especially with such an open design? It’s pretty different from a room air purifier that’s running continuously to eventually clean and maintain a room’s air quality.

    Anyway, while I’ve gotten used to wearing masks, I’m still far away from putting on electronic masks/mask-like devices unless I’m pretending to be in a Sci-Fi movie.

    1. Unless those fans are extremely powerful to the point where it’s very uncomfortable, it doesn’t seem the air you’d be breathing would be purified much. I’d like to see an independent test of actual breathed in air quality improvement. Just for curiosity though since I don’t see myself wearing it even if there was no pandemic that this device would likely make worse.

      Regardless, now that we’re in the pandemic era (even when it’s “over”), this product is just badly timed/too late and should probably be cancelled. It’s just shooting your cooties everywhere including your bad breath.

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