Dyson turns 21 today, and as a treat to its fans the British firm has revealed a duo of products that it designed but never actually built – including a Google Glass-style wearable HUD conceived back in 2001.
Dubbed Dyson Halo, the headset featured a full colour 3D HUD that overlaid visual cues on your surroundings. In other words, a very early augmented reality device. Two mirrors, two monitors and a prism projected a 10in translucent image that appeared to float a metre in front of the wearer and showed a series of app icons, very much like today’s smartphones. A projected keyboard could be made to appear on any flat surface, allowing the user to type messages and notes.
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It linked directly to a computer that was carried in the user’s pocket and featured a Siri-style personal assistant that understood basic voice commands and could read emails to the wearer via headphones. Finger tracking was also supported.
It sounds like a truly groundbreaking device, especially as it would have been released 10 years ahead of Google Glass (which, let’s not forget, is still yet to go on general sale in the UK). Sadly, after three years working on it, Dyson scrapped the Halo project in order to focus on expanding its US business – although the company says that elements of its design and technology are being used in research for future projects.
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Also on the “almost” list was a lightweight, compact fuel cell and digital motor combination that could power small products (this may yet come to fruition), as well as a “Diesel Trap” that could filter out harmful particles from a diesel engine and stop them getting into the atmosphere.
Dyson recently announced a £250 million expansion plan that will see a new R&D facility opened in 2016 and a doubling in the firm’s development budget. So we can expect plenty more game-changing products to be dreamt up – and hopefully they’ll all make it to the market at some point.