Dyson’s greatest inventions, from the Ballbarrow to the Airblade

Dyson DC06 (2004)

Dyson has been working on a robotic vacuum cleaner for seemingly forever – but has never put it into production. James Dyson claims that the DC06 worked fantastically well thanks to an amazing complement of electronic brains and more suction power than rivals, but its 70 sensors and three on-board computers meant it was also fantastically expensive to build – it would have cost something like £2,500. The company put the project on ice, with James Dyson saying he wouldn’t build a cheap robotic vacuum that didn’t work as well as the pricey prototypes.

But Dyson isn’t done with robots: the firm just announced that it will be putting £5 million into a joint robotics lab with Imperial College London, which will be used to develop better vision systems for domestic robots that can adapt to changes in real time and enable them to navigate our homes in a more intelligent way. Dyson believes that programmed and pre-ordained navigation won’t cut it in the dynamic modern home, and that this new lab will allow them to create a more intelligent system of domestic helpers.

Dyson DC15 “The Ball” (2005)

Dyson revisited his 30 year-old Ballbarrow design for the DC15, an upright that replaced the front wheels with a single large, wide ball. This allowed the vacuum to be steered around your floor with far less effort, and has become a standard feature on both upright and cylindrical Dyson cleaners since.

Dyson DC16 (2006)

The company’s first battery-powered, handheld model, the DC16 weighed just 1.5kg and delivered 36 airwatts of suction from its dinky Root Cyclone engine. Variants designed for pet hair and in-car use were also released.

More after the break...

Dyson Airblade (2006)

Dyson’s air-moving expertise wasn’t to be restricted to vacuum cleaners, and in 2006 it was applied to commercial hand dryers with the Airblade. Rather than using a wide stream of heated air to dry your sodden mitts, it produces a single layer of cool air moving at a speed of 400mph that dries hands in 10 seconds. Dyson says the Airblade uses less electricity than its competitors as well as working far more quickly, while the cooler air doesn’t increase bacteria to the same degree as traditional dryers. 

Dyson Airblade Tap

In 2013, Dyson squeezed Airblade tech into a water tap, allowing people to wash and then dry their hands at the basin.

Dyson Air Multiplier (2009)

A bladeless fan that moves 27 litres of air per second without the possibility of chopping off your fingers. How? By forcing air through a fine circular aperture, causing its velocity to increase and to drag the air at the centre of the circle with it. The principal behind the Air Multiplier was revisited in 2011’s Dyson Hot fan heater, which added a thermostat and could work as both a cooling fan and a room heater.

Dyson DC56 Hard (2013)

The company’s latest model is a battery-powered handheld designed for cleaning hard floors. It works in a similar way to the DC16, but a long attachment adds replaceable wet wipes which shine your tiles or floorboards while the Cyclone engine sucks up dirt.

Dyson Cinetic (2014)

The present-day Dyson doesn't just dispense with the bag - it's killed the filter too. Why? Because it's a right pain to clean, and it's prone to clogging (and thus reducing suction), says Dyson.

Fine, flexible tips on the ends of the Cinetic's cyclone chambers oscillate during vacuuming, which prevents dust from sticking to them and ensures that they remain clear and unblocked at all times. So, in that 'never loses suction' claim, never theoretically really does mean never. Clever stuff.

READ MORE: 20 years ago, Dyson killed the bag - and now it's done away with the filter too

READ MORE: My Gadget Life - James Dyson

Stuff’s Best of British issue celebrates the latest and greatest tech from the shores of Blighty. Pick up a copy in shops and on digital magazine stores now, and read more about it here.