Dyson is entering the headphone market in the most Dyson-like way possible: the Zone, a set of noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones with built-in air purification technology owing to a strange-looking magnetic face visor. It’s the weirdest and perhaps the most ambitious product the company has ever created.
Today’s event is only a first look at the Zone headphones ahead of a fall release date, and Dyson isn’t revealing any pricing or specifications (such as how much the headphones weigh or how long the battery will last) at this time.
The Zone’s purpose is to make urban living more comfortable by attempting to reduce both air and noise pollution.
Dyson’s air purification side of the Zone does not reinvent the wheel. Instead, it shrinks the company’s existing air filtration technology into a new form factor. Using a pair of small compressors, the Zone draws air into each earpiece. The air is then filtered and pumped through the (admittedly odd-looking) “visor” for the user to breathe in – free of most particles and contaminants.
Despite its appearance, the visor does not make direct contact with your face, as a mask would. Instead, it sits in front of your face, leaving a space for a bubble of clean air to collect and breathe in. (The company demonstrated an additional attachment that could be fastened on in situations where you might also require a true full-contact face mask.)
The visor attaches via a series of magnets and can be removed if you only want to use the headphones as headphones. It also features hinges that allow you to talk to people normally without having to remove the entire contraption. The Zone’s filtration system also has several settings for varying levels of exertion. For example, if you’re sprinting up a flight of stairs or rushing to catch a bus, your breathing will be heavier (and you’ll require more air) than if you’re taking a leisurely stroll. There’s even an automated mode that uses accelerometers to alter the airflow automatically.
The Zone, according to Dyson, can filter out up to 99 percent of particle pollution – however, the filters aren’t reusable and must be replaced after approximately a year. (The actual amount of time depends on how much air pollution you encounter and how actively you use the headphones, according to the firm.)