Dyson just announced the Zone, the world’s first headphones that also purify the wearer’s air. Yes, they look like something out of a post-apocalyptic wasteland. But people thought that the iPad was was just a bigger iPhone when it first came out. If you can look past the supervillain styling, you’ll see that the Zone actually is loaded with thoughtful design tweaks and features. We’ll just have to wait and see if anyone wants to wear them.
The Zone’s magnetically-attached plastic facemask filters out allergens, gasses, and dust in a utility built for wearers in urban areas. It comes with four selectable modes (low, medium, high, and auto), and utilizes the same technology as Dyson’s home air purifiers.
A motor in each headphone earcup sucks surrounding air into a compressor. Then, the air passes through replaceable double-layered filters made with potassium-enriched carbon that aims to trap particulates. Onboard sensors detect how fast the wearer is moving and automatically adjust the airflow up to 5 liters of air per second, which is the equivalent of a light jog.
From there, clean air pours into a stream along the inside of the visor down to the wearer’s mouth and nose.
Depending on which filter Dyson puts in the Zone, it could be pretty effective. The brand claims that some of its filtration techniques can trap 99.97% of particle pollution as small as 0.3 microns, including dust, pollen, and bacteria.
To silence the filter’s compressors, the active noise-canceling headphones use microphones to monitor any external sounds (and the sound of the filter’s compressors) and remove it with anti-sound waves played through the earcup speakers.
The British appliance company has a fair bit of experience on the cutting edge. In the mid-2010s, it started to diversify from the vacuum cleaners it built its reputation on. Soon, it struck gadget gold with the now-famed Dyson Supersonic hairdryer.
Whether the Zone lands the same acclaim remains to be seen. While the form may be too extreme for people to wear on a daily basis, the function is definitely innovative.
The Dyson Zone drops in fall 2022. The brand hasn’t released pricing details yet, but it’s never been shy of price tags in the $500 range.