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Unbelievable – a hand-drier that actually works

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October 3, 2006

Unbelievable – a hand-drier that actually works

Unbelievable – a hand-drier that actually works

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October 4, 2006 James Dyson has done it again and this time he's invented a hand drier that uses just 15-25% of the electricity of common hand driers, costs around 20-25% of the annual running costs of the current crop and it's significantly more hygienic into the bargain. Most significantly, it'll get your hands dry before you die of old age – the Dyson airblade dries hands in about ten seconds which is at least twice as fast as most common hand driers. Hallelujah brothers and sisters – this is one of those inventions that's been obviously required for a long time. The airblade produces a stream of unheated air flowing at 400mph to do the job.

The Dyson press release reads as follows:

James Dyson said: "Instead of painfully slow evaporation, Dyson Airblade™ creates a high speed sheet of air, the 'blade', which gently squeegees your hands dry. It's very quick and it's very clean."

Speed: Conventional hand dryers either don't work or simply take too long. In fact most people give up waiting and wipe damp hands on clothes.

A sheet of air acts like an invisible windscreen wiper to wipe moisture from hands leaving them completely dry.

Hygiene: Electric hand dryers use 60 year old technology that relies on evaporation to dry hands. Washroom air, which contains faecal germs and is laden with bacteria, is heated and blown onto people's shoes, clothes and freshly washed hands.

People rub their hands together to speed up the lengthy drying process but research proves that this actually draws bacteria from deeper skin layers and fingernails. Most people get frustrated and leave with damp hands.

Damp hands are 1,000 times more likely to cross contaminate than dry hands. Dyson Airblade dries hands completely in just ten seconds.

Dyson Airblade removes bacteria and mould from the air using HEPA filtration. Waste water is passed through an iodine resin filter to disinfect it. And then Piezo crystal technology releases the sterilized water as a harmless invisible mist.

Dyson Airblade has undergone extensive biological and scientific testing by Dyson's in-house microbiologists, as well as research conducted by Leeds University and Bradford University.

Dyson's skincare research is also supported by the British Skin Foundation and the Royal Institute of Public Health.

Anna Zilnyk, certification officer, the Royal Institute of Public Health, said: "The Royal Institute of Public Health has reviewed the testing protocols and in particular those from Bradford University. They consider that the hand dryer is a significant step forward in hygienic electrical hand dryer technology."

Energy and cost of ownership: Conventional hand dryers consume a lot of energy and take an eternity to dry hands - if you bother to wait. Dyson Airblade dries hands completely in just ten seconds.

It is powered by Dyson's long-life, low energy Digital Motor and uses up to 83 per cent less energy compared with conventional hand dryers.

If a UK washroom uses 200 paper towels per day (most people use two at a time), that will cost £951 more to run each year than a washroom with a Dyson Airblade. That's a 99% saving per washroom per year. So it costs less and it's better for the environment too.

Dyson Airblade has been trialed in hospitals, restaurants, petrol service stations and other public places. The response has been enthusiastic and Dyson Airblade will be available to buy or lease in the UK and Ireland from November 2006.

Exploring, testing, discovering: At Dyson's research, design and development labs James Dyson, and his team of 420 engineers and scientists, explore all kinds of ideas and technologies, in addition to vacuum cleaners.

An engineer studying the properties of airflow discovered that by putting his wet hands in front of a high speed sheet of unheated room-temperature air, the force of air removed the water in a matter of seconds.

They were properly dry: not half-damp as they would be after a protracted session with a conventional dryer. It was soon apparent that, if this science was properly applied hand drying could be revolutionised.

Thousands of design hours were spent finding the most aerodynamic and efficient way of driving pressurised air through a finely-engineered aperture of less than 0.3 millimetres. Ergonomically curved to ensure that the whole hand is coated with air (including the fine crevasses between the fingers and backs of hands), this gap - the machine's 'blade' -delivers a curtain of air at a constant, uniform pressure.

Simply put, it's the first hand dryer that actually works properly. It's tough and has been put through its paces to make sure it withstands the toughest washroom environment.

The Dyson Digital Motor: The Dyson Digital Motor (DDM) is at the Dyson Airblade's core. A small, long-life, low-energy and brushless motor spinning at 1,666 revolutions per second, DDM produces enough air pressure for the Dyson Airblade to dry hands without the need for heat.

Buying Dyson Airblade: Dyson Airblade will be sold in the UK for UKP549 (excluding VAT). Machines can be leased directly from Dyson too.

Clive Beggs, Professor of Medical Technology, University of Bradford, said: "The Dyson Airblade hand dryer is hygienically superior to conventional warm air driers and it has the potential to greatly improve hand drying compliance and reduce the spread of infections.

"We all know that washing your hands helps to prevent the spread of infection. However, what many of us don't realise is that the hand drying process can be as important as hand washing itself.

"Washing with soap and water doesn't always remove all the contaminating bugs from your hands. Transfer of bacteria, including types that might be harmful, is more likely to occur from skin that is wet than from skin that is dry."

Clive Beggs is Professor of Medical Technology at the University of Bradford, where he leads the Bradford Infection Group - a multi-disciplinary research team dedicated to the prevention and control of hospital acquired infection. www.bradford.ac.uk

Matthew Patey, director, British Skin Foundation, said: "The BSF welcomes Dyson's approach to promoting skin health and hand hygiene through its revolutionary hand dryer."

The British Skin Foundation exists solely for the purpose of supporting research into skin disease. Working closely with patient support groups as well as many of the country's leading dermatology departments, the Foundation aims to help the 7 million people in the UK who suffer with a serious skin condition. www.britishskinfoundation.org.uk

Bob Ferguson, vice president, National Sanitation Foundation Water Systems Programs, said: "By working with NSF to develop the first, comprehensive protocol for hand dryers, Dyson has demonstrated the commitment of a true leader. With NSF P335, hand dryer manufacturers can now verify that their products meet appropriate sanitation criteria and dry hands with clean, filtered air. Hand dryers that meet all protocol requirements will bear the NSF Mark."

NSF International is an independent not-for-profit organization that certifies products and writing standards for food, water, air and consumer goods. www.nsf.org

Steve Hill, MOTO, said: "MOTO agreed to trial a Dyson Airblade hand dryer at one of our M4 motorway service areas. We're pleased to report that the unit has worked well and the feedback from the management and staff positive."

MOTO is the UK's leading provider of motorway service stations. It has 43 locations throughout the country and employs over 6,000 people. www.moto-way.com

Justin Woodley, general manager, Medirest, said: The Dyson Airblade has performed exceptionally well within Medirest's groundbreaking new food preparation plant. Hygiene is clearly of uppermost importance and the Dyson Airblade did not fail to deliver perfect results throughout the trial period, impressing both staff and visitors to the plant."

Medirest is the UK's leading provider of quality hotel services for healthcare - including catering, cleaning and housekeeping, portering and security, reception and switchboard, and grounds maintenance - to the National Health Service, private hospitals and residential care homes. www.medirest.co.uk

Research: The slowness of old-fashioned machines is a major reason why most people don't dry their hands properly. Men are worse offenders than women. The under-35s are the most impatient of all.

Research carried out by BMRB International for Dyson reveals that nine women out of ten wash their hands every time after visiting the loo when out and about – but only three men in every four.

But far fewer people dry their hands – and only half of those do so effectively. A staggering 78 per cent admit that their hands are either wet or not completely dry when they finish.

The under-35s are much less bothered about washing and drying their hands than their elders.

Most people wrongly imagine that electric hand dryers are more hygienic than paper towels. Men are more likely to make this mistake than women. Few people realise that damp hands are 1,000 times more likely to attract and spread bacteria.

Women are more likely than men to prefer paper towels over hand dryers.

Fourteen per cent of people have resorted to toilet paper to dry their hands in the last month, 18 per cent have dried their hands on their clothes –and 22 per cent have just tried to shake their hands dry.

Two people in every three say hand dryers take too long to do the job. Women are more likely than men to think this – as are younger people. Half of all women say they find the delay "frustrating".

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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