Dyson, the British engineering group behind the bagless vacuum cleaner and the ‘airblade’ dryer, has unveiled a new device that combines a hot and cold water tap with a hand dryer.
The Airblade Tap cuts out the need to go to a separate hand drying area as the system washes a person’s hands, and then dries them in 12 seconds right at the tap.
Whilst the Airblade Tap is not cheap at £1,000, the firm’s founder, Sir James Dyson, feels that it offers savings over separate hot air dryers and towel dispensers in public bathrooms.
The machine uses a totally redesigned Dyson digital motor placed underneath the sink, along with an air filter and sound-silencing equipment.
A pipe then carries the water, electrics and the air up to the tap, where a stainless steel head unit delivers the water flow and unheated air jets out at 430mph (692 km/h).
Both the water and air streams are sensor operated so there are no taps or buttons to touch. The infrared sensors emit light to pinpoint the position of a person’s hands, and then computer circuitry co-ordinates the response of water or air “without long delays”.
After washing, the system is claimed to dry hands in 12 seconds, compared with 43 seconds for a conventional wall-mounted dryer.
Dyson also feel that there is a hygiene and safety benefit to the system.
“The conventional way to wash and dry hands is too slow. Hand drying facilities are often not located near a sink, and hand dryers can take up to 43 seconds, so people can give up. But damp hands spread up to 1,000 times more bacteria than dry hands,” said Dyson on its website.
“There’s no need to leave the sink to use the Dyson Airblade tap hand dryer and it dries hands in 12 seconds.”
Sir James Dyson added: “In washrooms using conventional taps, you’ll need to move to a separate hand drying area, dripping water on the floors as you go. It’s why we’ve developed a tap with our hand drying technology in it.”
Dyson have calculated that after the upfront cost, the Airblade Tap costs £48 per year to run, compared with an estimated £1,460 for a paper towel dispenser (involving re-stocking and disposal).
The firm says that the tap costs up to 69% less to run per year than other hand dryers, and it can also save on space in washrooms.
But some commentators believe that the upfront cost of the Airblade Tap may put some people off.
Stuff magazine news editor Will Dunn said that the £1,000 price may mean only businesses wanting premium design will take the plunge.