Faucet dries hands with 420 mph gale

The days of walking with dripping hands from a sink to a hand-dryer in a public restroom could be over. The inventor of an ultra-high speed drier says he’s now figured out a way to build the drying tool directly into the faucet.

There are of course already dedicated units that combine dispensers of soap, water and hot air, albeit from separate jets that run in sequence. However, these don’t usually have a very strong “breeze” and many of us have had the experience of being left with hands that are not just still damp, but also a little slimy from the soap. That’s a particular pain when you can’t get another blast of air until you’ve waited for the soap and water to spray out again.

The solution comes from James Dyson, perhaps best known for pioneering the bagless vacuum cleaner. His firm already markets the Dyson Airblade, which uses a high compression fan that spins 90,000 times a minute and is billed as totally drying hands in just 10 seconds. The key seems to be that the emphasis is firmly on the speed and precision of the air’s movement rather than relying on temperature.

His new design takes the same motor and builds it directly into the faucet. The design means you hold your hands under a tube in the center that detects your hands and dispenses water. When you’re done, you move your hands apart so each is under a separate tube that then blasts out air at 420 miles per hour. The idea is that the air effectively scrapes the water off your hands and into the basin.

Thankfully the sensors are configured so that the air and water can’t activate at the same time, meaning you don’t need to worry about a 420 mph tidal wave.

Fitting the motor into the faucet has meant slightly slowing down the drying time, though it should still be done in 12 to 14 seconds, which likely evens out once you remove the need to walk over to a dryer and potentially wait in line.

The system will launch next month for around £999 (approx $1,600 US dollars.) Dyson’s firm says its running costs will be around 20 percent of a traditional dryer, saving around £200 a year and paying for itself in a little over five years if used as a direct replacement.