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Dyson's Air Multiplier: it does what it says on the box.

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This week, the soothsayers at BBC's weather centre promised me the dizzying heights of 22 degrees Celsius. Frankly, that would make a nice change because spring so far this year has been rubbish. If I didn't know better, I'd say that there was some conspiracy going on between British Gas, Npower and the weather fairies to make us keep our heating on all year round. But assuming we do get a barbecue summer as promised, and assuming opening my window just isn't going to cool me down quick enough, I'm going to need some sort of fan in my slightly stuffy office.


If you're anything like me, the last thing you want is a massive ugly white fan buffeting air into your face and floofing your neatly-stacked papers onto the floor. And aircon doesn't exactly come cheap. So what to do? Well, that legend of best-of-British revolutionary-yet-sensible home gadgetry and design who gave us bag-less vacuum cleaners which now clean round corners, Sir James Dyson, has come up with a revolutionary new type of fan. In fact, it's so revolutionary that it's not even called a fan; it's called an Air Multiplier.

A what?

Yes, an Air Multiplier. I had a red comedy cartoon question mark bouncing over my head when I first heard that too, but in fact, it does exactly what it says on the box. It actually multiplies the air. Four years in the making and with the help of a 350-strong team of engineers, the Air Multiplier takes some inspiration from Dyson's fantastically efficient hand dryer, the Airblade, which forces sheets of air out at a speed of 400mph to scrape the water from your hands. The Air Multiplier is as different to conventional fans as the Airblade is to conventional hand dryers.

Basically, air is sucked in to the device at a rate of 27 litres per second using an energy-efficient motor. It's then accelerated through an annular aperture and over an airfoil-shaped ramp (much like a jet engine), generating an uninterrupted stream of smooth air. None of this buffeting associated with traditional fans. There's no blades either, so you or more likely children  will be tempted to stick their fingers in it. (Well, that's not 100% true: I did stick my fingers in it, but as often happens when there's nothing there nothing happened.) Air behind the fan is also induced into the airflow, and the air around it is also entrained. So at its peak, the Air Multiplier amplifies air 15 times. You can adjust the flow just how you want it using the dimmer switch.

To see the Air Multiplier in action, click here.

Ever conscious about the wider impact of his products, Dyson has ensured that this latest invention is environmentally friendly. It uses a fraction of the electricity of aircon (40 watts versus several thousand watts) and if they're used in your place of work, you won't be getting sick building syndrome either, which is often associated with aircon. You can also clean the Air Multiplier in about five seconds too, with just one quick wipe of a cloth.



And you know what? The design is really nice. You'd think that what is basically a circle on a big coffee jar might look a bit boring, but to me it just screams touch me. It screamed the same thing to everybody else I saw looking at it in Selfridges on Saturday too. This summer, I really don't want an ugly old traditional fan sitting atop my desk or windowsill but this might just do the job. That is, when I can stump up the £200 to buy one.

If you want to see Sir James Dyson himself telling you all about the Air Multiplier (with lots of references to negative pressure and viscous shearing), click here.

by Ashley Morrison

Ashley is a freelance writer, blogger and editor.

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