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Vacuum cleaner company makes air-purifying headphones, for real

Some poor soul wearing the Dyson Zone headset.
(Image credit: Dyson)
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Dyson, makers of vacuum cleaners with dirt-seeking lasers (opens in new tab), has created a set of air-purifying headphones which are apparently not an April Fool's joke. According to the Dyson Zone product page (opens in new tab), the device's mouth visor is meant to channel "a continuous stream of purified air to your nose and mouth, without touching your face." 

We don't have any specs on the headphones themselves; all we know is that they are Bluetooth and noise canceling. The team over at Stuff (opens in new tab) was able to wear the mask and give the headphones a listen and said it was possible to hear the hums of the air purification motors in the ear cups even with noise-canceling enabled, which seems like an obvious downside to wearing an air purifier on your head. 

Dyson has said a lot about how great its mask is for delivering clean air to your lungs, but it should be noted that air purifiers are "not enough to protect people from Covid-19," according to the EPA (opens in new tab). The agency is obviously not referring to wearable air purifiers used outside the house (because the Dyzon Zone did not exist when it made its recommendation), but it is easy enough to see that if someone is sick and wearing this mask, they can still spread airborne germs. There's no seal like there is on KN95 or N95 masks (opens in new tab). The filtering is only one-way, and according to Dyson, it acts on "city fumes and pollutants."

You have to wonder if blowing air at people's faces is a great idea at a time when we're attempting to limit the circulation of a virus. In one of the publicity shots, the mask is being worn on a train, leaving the nose exposed—not exactly what the MTA (opens in new tab) would recommend.

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Dyson says that work on the mask started pre-pandemic and that it's working on an aerosol filtering mask that will somehow fit the Dyson Zone. So, a mask designed to reduce transmission of Covid to wear with your other mask that reduces pollutants. That seems like too many masks.

It's tough to nail down who this mask is actually for. While air pollution is a serious concern, I think I'll just stick with my black N95 when I take the bus into the city. Though for the sake of journalism, I'm confident our own Dave James wouldn't mind wearing these around town like he did the Razer Zephyr (opens in new tab).

The Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones will be available online at Dyson.com (opens in new tab) later this year. No price has been listed yet.

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Jorge Jimenez
Hardware writer, Human Pop-Tart

Jorge is a hardware writer from the enchanted lands of New Jersey. When he's not filling the office with the smell of Pop-Tarts, he's reviewing all sorts of gaming hardware from laptops with the latest mobile GPUs to gaming chairs with built-in back massagers. He's been covering games and tech for nearly ten years and has written for Dualshockers, WCCFtech, and Tom's Guide.