Dyson Disrupts Another Category with Its Supersonic Hairdryer

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Dyson Hairdryer

Dyson has just disrupted hairdryers with the same design/tech panache as the brand brought to humble vacuum cleaners and fans.

Launched today at a special event in Tokyo, the Dyson Supersonic hairdryer has a 14-blade axial flow impeller inside the handle, spinning at up to 110,000 times per minute. It has one inaudible frequency and a rubber isolation mount prevents the motor from vibrating against the inside of the handle, reducing noise.

Engineered for balance, air temperature is monitored 20 times a second and regulated by a microprocessor to prevent extreme heat damage.

“I’ve spent four years trying to get this quiet,” said Tom Crawford, head of the new product’s development, in Fast Company.

The hairdryer resembles a Dyson fan and similarly sucks in air at the base then blows it out in a stream. This is the smallest Dyson product to date but bears the brands characteristics: circular, smooth, metallic with a splash of color.

It took four years to develop, an investment of $71 million and 103 engineers to sort through 600 prototypes and 100+ pending patents. Founder James Dyson told Engadget that current dryers are “heavy, inefficient, and make a racket.” On further review, he added, “We realized that they can also cause extreme heat damage to hair.”

The fix at heart of the Dyson Supersonic is a V9 digital motor, the brand’s smallest to date that rotates fast enough to classify as ultrasonic—if not quite supersonic. Dyson borrowed from its handheld vacuums’ wraparound handles to find that perfect point where the hairdryer feels like an extension of your hand, which requires the motor at the top of the handle.

Dyson claims its appliance is 300% more powerful than those of the most powerful hairdryers on the market—and that intense engineering carries a price tag of $399.

“The hairdryer is another example of Dyson’s formula—of using an engineering-focused product-development story to help command a massive price premium,” notes Fast Company.

To rethink the hairdryer design, Dyson staffed his development team with women and men who all attended cosmetology classes and hired hair scientists to test how much heat hair can stand. Dyson estimates they bought 1,300 miles of hair tresses. “We were buying so much that they couldn’t farm enough,” said Crawford.

Dyson’s CEO, Max Conze told Fast Company they plan to launch 100 new products in the next four years, with a significant number in new categories. The Supersonic launches in the US exclusively at Sephora this September.

It took James Dyson more than five years and thousands of failed attempts to bring his vacuum to market and 10 years more to bring it mainstream.

“We always want to create something new out of nothing, and without research, and without long hard hours of effort,” he said. “But there is no such thing as a quantum leap. There is only dogged persistence—and in the end you make it look like a quantum leap.”

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