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Dyson Reinvents the Humble Fan

Gordon Kelly by

Updated: Dyson Reinvents the Humble Fan

You have to wonder about Dyson. The company is every bit as much of a design genius as Apple yet it chooses to make vacuum cleaners and hand dryers. So now the company has chosen to apply its prowess to another area - FANS!

As you might expect the Dyson 'air multiplier' is no ordinary fan, in fact it is the most advanced fan in the world. Naturally it doesn't look anything even remotely like a fan either with a magnifying glass-esque appearance which does away with blades altogether.

So how does it work? The answer is rather ingeniously (and possibly in part by magic). The air multiplier silently draws in air behind it then amplifies it through the ring by 15x to produce a cool and continuous flow of 405 litres of air every second. This is all powered by a brushless motor and the air speed can be precisely adjusted with dimmer-switch controls rather than the usual two or three settings on regular fans. It's a bit like Stargate!

"I've always been disappointed by fans," said James Dyson. "Their spinning blades chop up the airflow, causing annoying buffeting. They're hard to clean. And children always want to poke their fingers through the grille. So we've developed a new type of fan that doesn't use blades."

Dyson has fine points and from practicality, safety and hygiene perspectives the air multiplier makes a great deal of sense. Because it doesn't involve continuous top heavy motion it can also be made to rotate at the touch of a button and not turn into the whirling blades of death when traditional fans topple over at some point in their noisy lives.

So let's see if you can guess the downside to beautiful design and revolutionary technology with numerous benefits? That's right, price. For while you can pick up a large home fan for little more than £20 the Dyson air multiplier will set you back *deep breath* (no, *deeeeeeeeep breath*) £199! That's £199 for smallest 10in model (the 'AM01') with a 12 incher coming soon.

Yes, there's no way we can justify the cost unless you can afford and justify the cost because if you can you know you want one. And yes, so do we - badly...

Update: Following this remarkable response to this news story we've had Dyson get back in touch with us to clear up a few of the more technical elements about the air multiplier. So if you've vastly more physics knowledge than is healthy here is a some info from Dyson's engineering team which might help clear things up:

"The machine uses a 40W motor so is comparable with conventional fan in the energy used. The airflow performance is also similar. The real benefit is that the air isn't chopped or buffeted by fan blades: it's smooth and uninterrupted.

The fins on the mixed-flow impeller in the base of the machine are there to create pressure and only account for 7% of the overall air flow. The technology developed by Dyson has three-stages: 1. airfoil-shape induces vacuum to draw in air. 2. Conical 16 degree ramp creates further induction of air and 3. The viscous sheering after the air has left the fan to further multiply the air flow. So 93% of the airflow comes from the technology we have developed and refined over the last few years."


Dyson air multiplier

Go to comments


October 13, 2009, 10:03 pm

A rather cool piece of tech!

Now all I want to know is when will we have dyson case fans, dyson chipset fans and dyson grapphics card fans :)


October 13, 2009, 10:12 pm

I thought the same thing Keldon. Put this tech to use rather than to cool people off. Isn't it a bit silly to launch this product now? Didn't anything remotely resembling "summer heat" end like a week ago? That's a long time to have a £200 fan sitting doing nothing.


October 13, 2009, 10:24 pm

It's like they studied aeronautic engineering and played with F1 engineers for a few years and hey presto - a fan ?!? Very nice piece of tech i admit, and i would definitely get one if they didn't cost so much (or rather if i didn't earn so little)

Keep at it Dyson - you'll be taking on Intel next ;)


October 13, 2009, 10:54 pm

"So how does it work? The answer is rather ingeniously (and possibly in part by magic). The air multiplier silently draws in air behind it then amplifies it through the ring by 15x to produce a cool and continuous flow of 405 litres of air every second. This is all powered by a brushless motor and the air speed can be precisely adjusted with dimmer-switch controls rather than the usual two or three settings on regular fans. It's a bit like Stargate! "

You merely describe WHAT it does, again. Not HOW it works. How do you go about "amplifying air"?


October 13, 2009, 10:58 pm

Indeed Keldon: Currently encoding video and my computer is deafening! Would love one or two "fans" like these in my PC. Would be a dream come true!


October 13, 2009, 11:15 pm

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...but didn't Dyson do his bit for this country by closing his plant here and moving things to Malaysia? Or am I thinking of someone else?

Barry Ward

October 13, 2009, 11:22 pm

There's no mention of how quite/noisy these things are- any idea? Forget the hazards etc of normal fans- the one thing I hate is how bloomin' noisy they can be!


October 13, 2009, 11:24 pm

If it's anything like his vacuum cleaners, it'll start off great, get noticeably worse after a couple of years, then die prematurely..


October 13, 2009, 11:27 pm

Hmm, a back-to-front vacuum cleaner...HOW MUCH?!

To be honest, the humble £5 desktop fan was probably the last thing in the world that needed a new approach. This is nothing more than a ridiculous design exercise that's a complete waste of money. I 'll take one.


October 13, 2009, 11:28 pm

he could have just reinvented the jet turbine engine as we know it. birds shall no longer fly in fear of being sliced and diced. and public hovercars may be a reality, without the headless bits.


October 13, 2009, 11:51 pm

Oh very Wizard of Oz, the fan is no doubt hidden in that suspiciously circular base.

I wonder what they're using to force the air out of the ring in the right direction and at an even force all the way round. Is there a fan ring hidden away in there? Is it pressurised?

Any chance of TR getting hold of one to disassemble? If you're doing cars then you can definitely cover a fan.


October 13, 2009, 11:51 pm

@piesforyou - video in the article gives a pretty significant hint. Anything beyond that I'm afriad you'll be battling with Dyson lawyers!

@surreychap yes, but this seems a reasonable outcome: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D...

@lifethroughalens - pretty much my thoughts exactly! Why oh why? But I want one!!

@ilovethemonkeyhead - nice idea, though I suspect reinventing the jet engine is a little more complex than the household fan! Fingers crossed it gets people thinking though...


October 13, 2009, 11:54 pm


here is the link for all you die hard fans to know how it works in alien languages...

I wonder if there is a line in the manual saying: do not position against a wall otherwise it wont work... lol

Digital Fury

October 14, 2009, 12:36 am

LOL! £199 for a fan! good candidate for con of the year. Does it have Bang & Olufsen branding on it?


October 14, 2009, 12:55 am

It's a bit like Stargate! if you use a standard dhd put in required 7 symbols this will take you too p4579 home of the Asgard who left all their technology to humankind about 3 years ago before being wiped out by the replicators Dyson obviously has access too this no seriously its a circular aeroplane wing and a brushless motor is effectively a linear motor which is why it is silent just dont stand too close as the event horizon creates


October 14, 2009, 1:15 am

Thanks xbrumster :)


October 14, 2009, 1:53 am

still thinking i could attach two of them to my backpack and take off...


October 14, 2009, 1:56 am

Dyson products are technologically very cool, even if expensive. As long as they work, which they rarely do. Lord knows how much I have had to pay for replacement parts for their bagless vacumns. I switched to a £30 Panasonic hoover and the only cost I have to pay are replacement bags. They cost much less than silly parts.


October 14, 2009, 2:15 am

Being a Dyson, it's bound to be cool (design) and crap (build) at the same time.

Also, being a Dyson, it's bound to be under-powered. How effective is this compared to a conventional fan of the same size?

I hope they don't make it in garish colour schemes like some of their other products.

And the price, don't even get me started ....


October 14, 2009, 2:43 am

If the Air Blade is anything to go by this will be very cool. Still get all excited every time I see one in a toilet.


October 14, 2009, 2:47 am

@ colin, hahahahhahahaha! Love the Stargate analogy.. I bet u Mr Dyson's the one who's been using the wormhole technology to stash all our precious water on the moon!


October 14, 2009, 3:15 am

Hmmm regardless of how it works, £199!! Rearrange this popular sentence " plot-the-lost-James-Dyson-Has" ?

Ive heard of added value but this is sounds like another (Sir) Clive Sinclair in the making...


October 14, 2009, 4:27 am

Which kind of begs the question: how much _would_ you pay for it?

I love gadgets, yet I'd struggle to see myself paying more than £20 for it, so how on Earth can they expect people to pay 10 times more than that for something that moves air particles around in a slightly different fashion to existing air-moving solutions?

steve thompson

October 14, 2009, 4:31 am

as with most of dysons products, application of existing technology. check out how emergency slides for large aircraft fill their emergency shutes, they use an air amplifier.

The famous dyson vacuum was a copy of a sawdust collector i had for 50years attached to a commercial sanding belt.


October 14, 2009, 6:11 am

@steve thompson - I completely understand that, but innovation has to start somewhere and it inevitably begins at 'crazy expensive' before filtering down over time. IMHO it's a highly commendable technological development that will not only become more affordable over time, but inspire other companies to try and make cheaper knock-offs!

All the anger and exclamation marks in this thread are understandable, but you can also buy an old car for £500, a new one for £10,000 and yet people also pay £500,000 to £1m for space age models like the Bugatti Veyron. We need to treat the air multiplier in a similar ilk and crazy prices or not, a world without Veyrons and Dyson fans would be a teeny bit less interesting.

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