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Airblade From Dyson Airblast From Heinlein

The Airblade hand dryer from Dyson is a real advance over those other hand dryers, in that it actually works. That, at least, is the claim of inventor James Dyson, whose company is introducing the Airblade.


(Dyson Airblade hand dryer)

The Dyson Airblade forces unheated air through two thin slots at 640 kilometers per hour, forming "air blades" that slice the water right off your hands as you withdraw them through the blades. The process is much shorter than typical hand drying cycles, taking just ten seconds.

The company also claims that it is more hygenic because it filters the air from the room, and it uses only one-quarter of the energy (because it does not heat the air). Since it dries more effectively, it also reduces the transmissible germs on the hands of users.

If you are wondering if perhaps you've seen something like this before, you're right. The high speed hand dryer from Mitsubishi which appeared several years ago has a very similar shape (see a picture here).

So, what does this have to do with science fiction writer Robert Heinlein? In his 1940 story Coventry, he writes about a "refreshing chamber" (i.e., bathroom) that uses an air blast to dry off. I've looked everywhere, but the first patent for a hand dryer was filed in 1948, which I think puts Heinlein in the lead on this one.

Read this source article about the Airblade hand dryer or go to the Dyson Airblade website.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 10/9/2006)

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