Dyson goes mobile with odd headphones packing a built-in airpurifier

An answer to air and noise pollution in the city.

Image via Dyson

Dyson usually sticks to vacuums, fans, and other household air-based appliances but the company is now entering the headphone space in an odd move. Today, the company showcased plans for its upcoming noise-canceling Zone headphones, but there’s a catch. The Zone headphones feature a removable magnetic face mask that serves as an air purifier.

The Zone headphones use ear-mounted filters and a contactless facemask to provide clean air for the user. Using electrostatic filters, the Zone is able to attract particles from out of the air, which helped Dyson shrink the filters to an optimal size. The air that is filtered through the headphones is then circulated through the magnetically attached face mask. Air passes through a specialized mesh that disperses air evenly across the “breathing zone.”

Aside from air purification, the Dyson Zone headphones also provide active noise cancelation. This process uses microphones to take in noise from the wearer’s surroundings before using algorithms to play counter tones to cancel out the noise.

While Dyson wasn’t quick to share details surrounding the physical weight or driver size, it did provide plenty of information on how the Zone headphones came to be. It’s easy to look at the Zone and immediately think of the headphones as a sort of response to COVID-19, but the development of the Zone headphones began in 2016 when Dyson started discussing the concept of “purification on the go.”

In an effort to combat the air and noise pollution synonymous with city living, Dyson began drafting wearable concepts. In 2018, Dyson landed on the face mask design the Zone uses today, which would subsequently be iterated upon until its reveal in 2022.

Image via Dyson

Over the course of its testing, Dyson used a fake human test subject named “Frank.” Dyson created an artificial, mechanical set of lungs and hooked them up to Frank so that he could give them accurate data regarding the depth of human breaths. From a deeper and more labored breath to a resting, calm breath, Frank and his lungs were at the core of Dyson’s research. These experiments informed the team of whether the clean air filtered through the headphones was being received by the lungs. Good job, Frank.

Dyson’s Zone headphones are undoubtedly a spectacle. While Bane jokes are low-hanging fruit, maybe the Zone headphones are just strange enough to succeed in today’s world. Either way, we’ll need more concrete performance specs like weight and frequency response as well as size before any value-based statements can be made.

The Dyson Zone headphones will be available in Autumn 2022.