A set of noise cancelling, high fidelity over-ear headphones that simultaneously deliver immersive sound to the ears, and purified airflow to the nose and mouth – that’s Dyson Zone, the latest innovation from leading British multinational technology company Dyson, designed to combat both noise and air pollution in urban environments.

Six years in development, Dyson Zone is Dyson’s first wearable purifier, capturing city pollution including gases, allergens and particulate matter, and cancelling unwanted noise with advanced noise cancellation and pure, high-fidelity audio.

“Air pollution is a global problem – it affects us everywhere we go. In our homes, at school, at work and as we travel, whether on foot, on a bike or by public or private transport. The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move,” Dyson explained.

A result of six years of product development and over 500 prototypes, Dyson Zone air purifying headphones are based on Dyson’s 30 years of expertise in airflow, filtration and motor technologies and deep understanding of indoor and outdoor air quality.

“Compressors in each ear-cup draw air through the dual-layer filters and project two streams of purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth, channelled through the non-contact visor. Sculpted returns on the visor ensure the purified airflow is kept near to the nose and mouth and diluted as little as possible by external crosswinds,” the company said in a statement.

The original design, which had a snorkel-like clean air mouthpiece paired with a backpack to hold the motor and inner workings, evolved over six years of development into an effective, contact-free visor that delivers clean air without full-face contact. Developing a non-contact solution was an important goal for Dyson engineers to avoid the discomfort and irritation often associated with full-contact alternatives.

The negatively charged electrostatic filter media captures ultrafine particles such as allergens and particles from sources such as brake dust, industry combustion and construction while a potassium-enriched carbon layer captures city gas pollutants including NO2 and SO2. The compressor channels the purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth via the contact-free visor, formed with flexible returns that channel the flow of purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth.

To test the efficacy of the air purifying headphones, the engineers used a breathing manikin fitted with medical-grade mechanical lungs and sensing equipment to replicate human breathing patterns in a controlled chamber.

Since this was their first foray into audio, Dyson’s team of audio engineers and acousticians sought to engineer excellent audio led by metrics, backed up with extensive listening trials. Despite the space constraints inherent with a wearable device, the engineers developed a high performing neodymium electroacoustic system within each ear-cup. 

Comfort has also been integrated into the design with the Dyson Zone engineered to distribute weight over the sides of the head, rather than on the top. Detailed research into head and face geometries meant the engineers could measure how the air purifying headphones would sit on and perform on different heads. 

Images: Dyson