The headphones that could help commuters breathe CLEAN air: Dyson reveals plans for headphones that purify inner-city air and pump it to the mouth and nose as you listen to music

  • The tech firm filed the unusual concept with the UK Intellectual Property Office 
  • Filters built around the headphone speakers remove particles from the air
  • A nozzle then directs the air flow around the face to the mouth and nose
  • The design aims to make it easier to breath and speak than with other masks 
  • However, it is not certain that Dyson will develop the concept into a product

Do you often find yourself choking on air pollution while bopping along to Sting’s ‘Every Breath You Take?’ A new concept from Dyson may have you covered.

The British technology firm has filed a patent for headphones that purifies air using fans in the ear cups and blows it towards your mouth and nose.

Dyson says that the design should allow for easier breathing and talking that conventional face masks — which tend to muffle one’s mouth. 

The concept could prove a popular alternative, with face masks currently an in-demand product as a result of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak

However, it is unclear whether this patent filing will ever be translated into a commercial product.

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Do you often find yourself choking on air pollution while bopping along to Sting’s ‘Every Breath You Take?’ A new concept from Dyson may have you covered

Filed with the UK Intellectual Property Office and published on January 29, 2020, the patent was first spotted by Bloomberg and is similar to another concept filed by Dyson back in 2018.

‘Many individuals have recognised the benefits of minimising their exposure to [air] pollutants and have therefore taken to wearing face masks,’ the patent said.

‘However, as these face masks typically cover at least the users’ mouth and nose they can make normal breathing more laborious and can also cause problems with the user’s ability to speak to others,’ it continued.

Given this, the designers conclude, ‘there is some reluctance to make use of such face masks on a day-to-day basis despite the potential benefits.’

To overcome this, some designers have proposed air purifiers that are worn around the neck blast a jet of clean air in the direction of the wearer’s nose and mouth — although these tend not to be as effective at blocking airborne pollutants. 

In contrast, Dyson’s approach is designed to blow air to the wearer’s mouth and nose without muffling either. 

Filed with the UK Intellectual Property Office and published on January 29, 2020, the patent was first spotted by Bloomberg and is similar to another concept filed by Dyson back in 2018

‘Many individuals have recognised the benefits of minimising their exposure to [air] pollutants and have therefore taken to wearing face masks,’ the patent said. ‘However, as these face masks typically cover at least the users’ mouth and nose they can make normal breathing more laborious and can also cause problems with the user’s ability to speak to others,’ it continued

The concept resembles a standard pair of headphones, but with a second, hollow band that can be rotated down in front of the wearer’s mouth

The concept resembles a standard pair of headphones, but with a second, hollow band that can be rotated down in front of the wearer’s mouth.

A system of electric fans and filters built into each speaker assembly sucks in air, purifies it and passes it down the band where holes direct it at the wearer’s mouth and nose to be breathed in.

The nozzle will, according to the patent, be at least in part formed ‘of a transparent or partially transparent material so that the user’s mouth is visible through the nozzle […] so as to avoid limiting the user’s ability to clearly speak to others.’

The fans in the ear cups would spin at a rate of up to 12,000 revolutions per minute and together deliver more than 2.9 litres of air every second.

From the patent filing, however, it is unclear where in the device a battery might be housed to power both the fans and the regular audio functions.

A system of electric fans and filters built into each speaker assembly sucks in air, purifies it and passes it down the band where holes direct it at the wearer’s mouth and nose

The nozzle will, according to the patent, be at least in part formed ‘of a transparent or partially transparent material so that the user’s mouth is visible through the nozzle […] so as to avoid limiting the user’s ability to clearly speak to others’

Whether the air purifying headphones will actually end up reaching the high street, however, remains to be seen.

‘We’re constantly creating disruptive solutions to problems, which means we file a lot of patents,’ a Dyson spokesperson told Bloomberg. 

‘If and when a product is ready we’ll happily go through it but until then we don’t comment on our patents.’

WHAT IS THE AIR QUALITY INDEX?

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is a measure used by environmental agencies and other public bodies around the world to measure how clean the air is.

The lower the index is, the better the quality of the air.

The AQI provides a number which is easy to compare between different pollutants, locations, and time periods.

Exactly how this score is categorised varies from country to country, but each category in the AQI corresponds to a different level of health risk.

The daily results of the index are used to convey to the public an estimate of air pollution level. 

The AQI provides a number which is easy to compare between different pollutants, locations, and time periods. Exactly how this score is categorised varies from country to country, but each category in theAQI corresponds to a different level of health risk

An increase in air quality index signifies increased air pollution and severe threats to human health. 

The AQI centres on the health effects that may be experienced within a few days or hours after breathing polluted air.

AQI calculations focus on major air pollutants including: particulate matter, ground-level ozone, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, and carbon monoxide.

Particulate matter and ozone pollutants pose the highest risks to human health and the environment. 

For each of these air pollutant categories, different countries have their own established air quality indices in relation to other nationally set air quality standards for public health protection.

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