Design Inspiration : Dyson Air Multiplier

May 15, 2012 | Blog, Design inspiration

Digital disruption

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Scott Clarke

Written by

Scott Clarke  

Founding father of Kensa and all round design obsessive, Scott has an opinion on pretty much everything.

Design can be broadly defined as creative problem solving; we want to stand out from our competitors, we want our product to be faster, cheaper, smaller or more efficient. The objective is always to improve the object of our attention, but what if it’s already working perfectly?

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”

The electric fan hasn’t fundamentally changed since it was invented in 1882. The materials of its construction may have been updated, there are new speed selectors and styling, but at its core it remains the same; electricity feeds a motor which causes fan blades to spin and direct air towards you.

When is a fan no longer a fan?

An engineer at Dyson decided that the buffeting effect caused by fans chopping the air was unpleasant and called for a redesign. While the official marketing justification may be dubious the end result is still impressive; they noticed that when pressurised air is passed over an airfoil-shaped ramp it get amplified, drawing in the surrounding air through a magical processes known as ‘inducement and entrainment’ (the same principle which keeps aeroplanes in the sky). Somebody had the bright idea to take this knowledge and apply it to build a better fan.

The clever bit…

The Dyson fan actually has a conventional (yet highly refined) fan hidden within its base which is used to suck in more than 20 litres of air per second. This air is then channeled up through the body and out over the ramped edge where, due to inducement, it is amplified 15x to produce a whopping 405 litres of air per second. The result after hundreds of iterative tests? Beautifully smooth air flow, no visible blades and a design which makes it dramatically different from any other fan on the market. The Dyson Fan Dyson Air Multiplier was born.

While the Air Multiplier is undeniably beautiful it’s unique industrial design and clever technology aren’t the greatest inspiration here – it is the ongoing pursuit of innovation, the outside the box thinking displayed by Dyson which allowed them to develop this product in the first place.

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