Dyson invents fan that has no blades

For once James Dyson has invented something without cutting-edge technology – a fan without blades. With an eye on the lucrative US market for air conditioning, the creator of the bagless vacuum cleaner is launching his bladeless fan on both sides of the Atlantic today.

Instead of pushing coolness around a room, the loop of the Dyson Air Multiplier “accelerates and amplifies” air, expelling 405 litres a second.

For Sir James, the Conservatives’ new technology tsar, the O-shaped product is another chance to build on his reputation as Britain’s foremost inventor and creates the possibility that homes may one day be entirely populated by gizmos developed by his team of 350 scientists in Wiltshire.

But it only came about by chance, the latest in a long series of accidents that have earned the entrepreneur a £560m fortune.

As he jetted off to the US for a promotional tour, the 62-year-old industrialist said: “We were developing the hand drier and we noticed that the blade of air that comes out at 400mph was dragging in a lot of air with it, creating a much greater airflow than was coming out of the blade.

“So it wasn’t much use a hand-drier but we thought it was a very interesting phenomenon... as an air mover, in other words a fan.”

A conventional fan blade had several disadvantages, he suggested. “Children rush up and try to put their fingers in it. Accidents occur. It’s very difficult to clean,” he continued. “But most important of all the blades give a buffeting when they come on. It’s uncomfortable and you don’t enjoy it.”

Dyson came to public attention in the 1990s when his vibrant multi-coloured vacuum cleaners became highly fashionable. Their revolutionary cyclonic technology, which creates mini-tornados in living rooms up and down the country, was also the result of happenstance.

The inventor noticed that a giant cyclone he had built to spray paint an earlier invention, the Ballbarrow, was collecting dust and knew from his “30 years of experience” that conventional vacuum cleaners lost suction as their bags filled. A cyclone was the answer.

Serendipity, the accidental discovery of fortunate things, was “really important,” said Sir James, who wants the Government and investment houses to channel more money towards industrial innovation.

He told The Independent in an interview: “The thing is to be conducting experiments, to be searching for technology, to be trying to do something. and often when you do that you do something unexpected in another field.

“And that happened with the hand-drier,” he added.

“We were doing some experiments with air blades [for vacuum cleaners] and it didn’t work as well as wanted it to but we found it scraped the water off hands absolutely brilliantly, rather than trying to evaporate the water. So that was serendipity, but we were working at something.

“And it was the case with the fan; it was a spin off from observing something that was useless for the hand-drier but had another application.”

Sir James said that he did discover new products while developing his fan but said he couldn’t talk about them.

He defended its £199 price tag, saying: “We would argue that a fan that delivers air that you don’t mind sitting in front of is much more ecological, healthier and more pleasant than the chest-chilling chill of air conditioning.

“You can buy a cheap plastic one for less than that but those chromium ones are actually more expensive,” he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Larry David and Rosie Perez in ‘Fish in the Dark’
theatreReview: Had Fish in the Dark been penned by a civilian it would have barely got a reading, let alone £10m advance sales
News
Details of the self-cleaning coating were published last night in the journal Science
science
News
Approved Food sell products past their sell-by dates at discounted prices
i100
News
Life-changing: Simone de Beauvoir in 1947, two years before she wrote 'The Second Sex', credited as the starting point of second wave feminism
peopleHer seminal feminist polemic, The Second Sex, has been published in short-form to mark International Women's Day
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Evening Administrator

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This Pension Specialist was established early...

Guru Careers: Executive Assistant / PA

£30 - 35k + Bonus & Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking an Executive Assist...

Ashdown Group: Graduate Application Support Analyst

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: A global leader operating...

Reach Volunteering: External Finance Trustee Needed!

Voluntary post, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Would you ...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable