No, this is not an elaborate April fool. This is the Dyson Zone, a personal air-purifying mask and noise-canceling headphone doohickey that started life well before the Covid-19 pandemic made masks mainstream.
Available globally sometime next autumn, the Zone has taken six years to develop and represents either a bold new world of personal pollution protection or an economic and PR disaster for Dyson. Frankly, we're not sure which it will be.
It’s a head-mounted, fan-powered, personal air purifier with over-ear headphones, obviously. On each ear a brilliantly engineered miniature fan—essentially a shrunken version of the type found on the brand's Cool and Hot range of home air purifiers—sucks in dirty air, trapping the nasty stuff in an elaborate series of filters, before squirting a smooth stream of clean air across the wearer’s mouth and nose.
The reasoning behind the Dyson Zone is a somber one. Globally, air pollution kills an estimated 7 million people every year. Data from the World Health Organization shows that 99 percent of the global population breathes air that exceeds guideline limits on pollution, with, unsurprisingly, low- and middle-income countries suffering from the highest exposures.
According to the Global Alliance on Health and Pollution, both China and India suffer from over 1.2 million air-pollution-related deaths each year, while Public Health England states that air pollution is the biggest environmental threat to health in the UK, with 28,000 to 36,000 deaths a year attributed to long-term exposure.
In short, our air quality is killing us. But if you pop on a Dyson Zone before heading outside it will filter the air to 0.1 micron particles and capture 99 percent of those 0.1 micron particles, which is as close to clean as you can get.