Dyson Zone, headphones designed to face pollution in the city, are ready to launch

There are updates on the launch of Dyson's first wearable device, designed primarily for urban living, to tackle noise and air pollution. They will cost $949 and be available in 2023.

Dyson Zone, the company's first pair of noise-canceling and air-purifying headphones, will start to arrive in 2023. China will be first in January, and the United States, UK, Hong Kong, and Singapore will follow in March. Along with an expected launch date, Dyson shared the product's final specs this week and revealed more details about its development process. 

The headphones are not being engineered solely as a device for listening to music. They double as a portable air purifier thanks to a detachable "magnetic visor" connected to the earcups. Dyson engineers worked for six years on the Zone concept, iterating through many prototypes before finding the right design and weight distribution to ensure the user's comfort. 

The project was born to bring decades of expertise in indoor air filtration to the outside world, packing it all into a personal wearable device that protects people from air pollution outside their homes.
The final version of the device achieves Dyson's expectations thanks to precision compressors in the Magnetic Visor, which can spin at up to 9750rpm to the air through dual-layer filters.

Dyson Zone, image courtesy Dyson

One layer captures allergens, brake or industrial dust, and particles as small as 0.1 microns with 99% efficiency. The second layer enriched with Potassium is effective against typical urban pollutants, such as NO2, SO2, and O3. It also blocks city odors originating from fumes, sewage, or stale air in subways. Based on the level of outdoor pollution and usage, filters can last up to 12 months before the user has to swap them with new ones.

After passing through the filters, the air gets pushed out toward the nose and mouth so that the user can breathe in fresh and purified air at all times. 
Moreover, the new Dyson Zone set out to fight another form of common city pollution––noise. The company's engineers applied their proven development and methods to noise-canceling, creating some of the most painstakingly engineered ANC headphones on the market.

Dyson Zone packs a total of 11 microphones, and 8 of them monitor outside sounds up to 384,000 times per second to dampen city noise up to 38dB. Much attention has gone into fine-tuning sound quality as well, with specific optimizations to minimize distortion. 
Additionally, the frequency response and the equalization have also been carefully tuned to generate the best possible sound output throughout the range of audible frequencies.

The new Zone headphones represent Dyson's first foray into wearables and audio territory. It's interesting to witness how the company approached the development of the audio aspect by applying its strict engineering-first approach. Here's a detail that's particularly telling. While many companies in the audio industry rely on “golden listeners” (i.e., individuals whose ears are trained to assess audio quality), Dyson opted instead for a calibration method based on scientific parameters validated through extensive user testing.

MyDyson app

In the marketing narrative behind the new Zone, one can easily recognize Dyson's values and mission. Yet, while we understand the strict engineering approach, we're not hundred percent sure that it's all it takes to grant such a product its deserved commercial success.

Wearable products and Active Noise Canceling headphones, in particular, ultimately sell as lifestyle devices based on subjective, flimsy, and hardly-measurable parameters such as style, taste, and brand recognition. People want to buy them for their noise-canceling and audio quality, sure, but also because they would look cool wearing them. While Dyson is an established (and undoubtedly cool) brand to feature in tasteful and design-oriented interiors, it's not a given that, as a newcomer, it would automatically achieve the same status in the wearables space just by means of outstanding engineering.

Dyson Zone, photo by Tom William Chapman

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