The UK is in the midst of a heatwave and in an effort to help keep the IBTimes UK offices cool, the good people over at Dyson sent us their latest tech to test out – but not before we had to figure out what it actually does.
The Wiltshire-based company is famous for its bagless vacuum cleaners and bladeless fans, but is less well known for its recent reinvention of a device that most people – in the UK at least – do not even know exists: the humidifier.
Dehumidifiers are common enough, and can be a useful way to get rid of window condensation and mildew in damp homes. The Dyson Humidifier, on the other hand, can help you sleep, improve respiratory issues, combat ageing, and end world hunger. Well, maybe not the last one, but that's still an impressive list of claims.
Humidifiers are popular in other parts of the world, particularly in Asia where they are seen as having numerous health benefits. According to Dyson, however, the current devices on the market are unhygienic and only serve to spread bacteria.
To overcome this, Dyson spent three years and £37.5m ($58.6m) developing its humidifier, which combines the firm's patented Air Multiplier technology with a new ultraviolet cleansing method capable of eliminating 99.9% of the bacteria in the air.
But solving this problem is not all Dyson needs to do. Few in the US and Europe seem to know what humidifiers even do, let alone whether they need one or not. Only 4% of the UK population know what a humidifier is and only one in 500 people in the country actually own one.
By way of convincing people of their value, Dyson cites medical research to claim that one in three people could see significant benefits from having one.
"Low humidity may cause symptoms of dryness, an increase in fine wrinkles and a reduction in skin elasticity, which is often linked to skin ageing," a recent report from the Skin Health Alliance stated.
"This revolutionary new device offers people enhanced skin benefits by humidifying the environment around them."
After just one day of use it is too early to tell if it actually lives up to these claims, but given the current heat we decided to test how well it works to keep you cool.
After pouring water into the base, a "piezoelectric transducer" begins vibrating at 1.7 million times per second to separate and disperse invisible water particles through the Air Multiplier fan.
This causes a light mist to be emitted from the 'Loop' that is just about visible. Sat close to it, the Dyson Humidifier actually seems to work better than a traditional fan at cooling you down. As a solution to the heatwave, however, this comes at a price.
The Dyson Humidifier costs £500. That's 100 times more expensive than a bottom-of-the-range USB desk fan, though it's hard to argue that it is 100 times better at keeping you cool.
As an added benefit in the summer months, Dyson claims that the machine can also be used to combat hay fever. If this claim – together with the numerous health, sleep and ageing boasts – turn out to be true over the long term, Dyson might just be onto something.