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Dyson releasing cyberpunk anti-pollution headphones for $949 a pair


Dyson is bringing its noise-canceling air-purifying headphones to markets worldwide starting in January.

The iconic vacuum brand said its Dyson Zone headphones are meant to provide customers with a “pure” listening experience – and by that, it doesn’t just mean high sound quality.

In addition to what it promised would be advanced noise cancellation and a “faithful, full-spectrum” audio reproduction, the headset will come with a detachable air purifier that covers the wearer’s mouth and nose. Its filters could capture 99% of particle pollution as small as 0.1 microns, Dyson said.

While the company did not claim the device could be used as a shield against anything other than air pollution, unpleasant smells, or allergies, the size of the Covid-19 virus is also about 0.1 microns, and it is always bonded to something larger like liquid droplets.

Dyson said it was banking on its years of experience in airflow, filtration, and motors technologies to bring customers better air quality when they’re out and about in pollution-plagued world cities.

“Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go,” Jake Dyson, chief engineer at Dyson, said when the company first announced air-purifying headphones earlier this year.

He added: “The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturized air pumps.”

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Headphones with air-purifying visor removed. Image by Dyson

It took six years and more than 500 prototypes to come up with the final design, which was informed by some dire statistics on global air and noise pollution, both of which are projected to get worse in the years ahead.

An estimated 90% of mass transit users in New York City are exposed to decibel levels exceeding the limits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Every one in five Europeans is exposed to harmful noise levels, according to the EU.

Almost the entire global population breathes unhealthy air, with 99% of people living in areas that exceed air quality limits, according to the latest data from the WHO.

“High fossil fuel prices, energy security, and the urgency of addressing the twin health challenges of air pollution and climate change, underscore the pressing need to move faster towards a world that is much less dependent on fossil fuels,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in April.

With the world notoriously lagging behind the goals set by the Paris climate agreement in 2015, devices like the Dyson Zone could offer a way to avoid at least one problem directly linked to climate change – for those who can afford to splurge $949 on a pair, that is.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dyson will first bring its air-purifying headphones to China, where it is set to go on sale in January.

China’s Guangzhou is the city with the highest noise pollution in the world. At the same time, the country as a whole accounted for a quarter of four million global deaths linked to fine particle pollution in 2019, according to the UN.

Dyson Zone will also go on sale in the US, UK, Singapore, and Hong Kong in March, with dates for other markets unclear.


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