What it’s like to wear headphones that purify air

British technology company Dyson has launched two models, with prices starting at $928

Dyson Zone uses electrostatic filters to clean air. PA
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Dyson has launched new headphones with an air filtration system, first unveiled at the end of March last year and believed by many to be an early April Fool's joke.

The British technology company has launched two models, priced at £749.9 ($928.8) and £819.9 – significantly more expensive than the Apple AirPods Max, which are being sold for $549.

Called Dyson Zone, the new device is designed to help users who live in noisy and polluted cities, the company said.

The detachable front bar sits over the wearer’s mouth and nose, acting like the face masks that became ubiquitous during the coronavirus pandemic.

The visor can be lowered when the wearer is speaking or detached completely when not in use.

Air filtration

The company claimed the new headphones are capable of removing nearly 99 per cent of ultrafine particles.

Its two-stage, sealed filtration system removes city fumes, viruses and 99 per cent of ultrafine pollutants to deliver purified air, Dyson said.

The new device is suited for different climatic conditions and is fitted with both electrostatic and carbon filters.

Electrostatic filters use static charges to clean the air.

“Statically charged threads capture 99 per cent of particulates as small as 0.1 microns such as allergens,” Dyson said.

Activated carbon filters absorb city fumes and gases such as nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide.

“Air pollution is a global problem. 99 per cent of the world’s population live in areas that exceed the World Health Organisation safe levels for pollution,” Dyson said.

“In many geographies, local man-made pollution isn’t the biggest threat – in Europe, West Asia and Africa, the primary source of air pollution, according to the United Nations Environment Programme, is windborne dust.”

Noise cancellation

There are eight active noise-cancelling microphones that monitor surrounding noise 384,000 times a second, cancelling background noise.

The signal-processing technology, combined with active noise cancelling, reduces distortion, “ensuring realistic, detailed audio”, Dyson said.

Battery life

The battery life will depend on the mode used. For audio-only, the product has a run time of up to 50 hours. For audio and purification, the run time will be up to four hours.

Inspiration from horse saddle

The company said the headband cushion was inspired by the shape of a horse saddle, helping to distribute weight over the sides of the head as well as the top.

“Using head and face geometry data from across the world, we have engineered the Dyson Zone … for optimum comfort on an extremely broad range of face shapes,” Dyson said.

“The visor and headband are adjustable and a lot of research went into the choice of ear and headband cushion.”

It took Dyson six years of engineering and 500 prototypes to make the first headphones with air purification, the company said.

How do the sensors work?

Sensors measure surrounding air quality and let users know when to activate the purifier.

Users can also see the city’s air quality index and visualise all results in real time on the MyDyson app.

They will also get the notifications about when to change the filters.

Updated: June 01, 2023, 6:59 AM