What can your headphones do other than playing music into your ears? Well, some of them which come with ANC (active noise cancellation) can block the outside noise, at best. But what if we told you about a pair of headphones that can purify the air around you as you listen to music.
A headphone that's also an air purifier
Dyson, a company renowned for its vacuum cleaners, has patented a wearable air purifier that can be used as headphones. According to a Bloomberg report, the British home appliances company filed a patent with the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) way back in July 2018, but it was approved only last week.
The patent description states: "It is an object of the present invention to provide a wearable air purifier that provides improved air purification and air delivery performance when compared with prior wearable air purifiers."
The air purifier itself is worn over the user's ears and is designed to tackle the harmful effects of air pollution on human health. The patent application mentions several airborne diseases and notes the background of rising air pollution all the risks it poses to human beings.
The patent also observes that most wearable air purifiers are simply masks that usually cover the user's nose and mouth. And wearing an air mask could make the wearer feel awkward as the idea is not really socially acceptable. Other wearable air purifiers that do not cover the wearer's nose and mouth, promise to purify the air, but struggle to do so.
Dyson's wearable air purifier design helps purify the air around the user with style and without the wearer feeling awkward since it doubles as headphones.
How does it work?
The design shows hundreds of tiny pores on each of the headphone cups and these pores allow the air purifier to suck in the bad air. Inside the ear cups are the fans and motors for the purification system which spon at 12,000 RPM to pull the air in.
Both the cups can draw 1.4 litres of air per second. Fans spinning at 12,000 RPM might make you feel that it will be a noisy affair, but Dyson says that a range of rotation speeds from 10,000 to 12,000 RPM can be "effectively cancelled by a typical active noise cancellation or ANC system." So you needn't worry about the noise.
Once the gets pulled in, it gets filtered through a series of filters that remove harmful airborne particles like dust, pollen and bacteria. The headphones then circulate the purified air back through the same pores. The patent filing also shows that the headset has a band that goes across the wearer's mouth. This could be to further improve air quality. However, in some images, the band is retracted, which suggest that it could be an optional fixture that can be removed.
A novel idea
The idea of integrating an air purifier into the design of a typical pair of headphones is quite a novel idea. Just think about it, you're wearing these headphones which don't look that bulky either, and the air around you is being purified at the same time. This is a great use of technology to tackle the harmful effects of air pollution on human health.
However, it's still just a patent and not a final product. And it's still pretty unclear if such headphones will ever hit the market. But considering that Dyson has made some really interesting products in the past, it could be a possibility. In the meantime, kudos to Dyson for thinking of such a product.