A Look at Dyson's Failed Inventions, Including an Oculus Rift-Like Headset

By Kat Hannaford on at

Dyson's the most Apple-like company we can call our own -- it's a hugely secretive company which protects its products, of which place the same importance on both design and functionality, better than any Cupertino company. Its ever-expanding R&D investment is currently seeing them spend around £3m per week. It blows me away that the West Country company is just 21 today, given its feats. To mark its birthday, they've lifted the wraps on several failed concepts, of which you can see below.

Dyson Halo

Years before Google showed off Glass or we ever dreamt of strapping an Oculus Rift to our heads, Dyson was exploring an augmented reality headset by the name of Halo. The head-mounted wearable could fold down to fit into a user's pocket, but when worn like a pair of glasses, audio and visual cues could help overlay information thanks to two plane mirrors reflecting the display of two small monitors onto a prism.

As you'd guess, this would then project a display in front of the user, around 10-inches in size. Dyson figured this wouldn't just be useful to gauge a user's surroundings; it could also read out emails and even let users respond to them thanks to a projected keyboard. All this, in the same year iPods first launched onto the scene.

Like Motorola's Atrix smartphone, which docked into a laptop, the Halo headset could dock into a monitor to become a desktop computer. A wrist-worn controller would act like a mouse for the display, but of course Dyson was interested in exploring finger-tracking and speech recognition too.

Despite the Halo never coming to fruition after three years of R&D, some of the technology is being used in future research projects by the company. Let's hope it's not the menu UI seen above -- though doesn't "Virtual PA" sound a lot more effective than Siri?

Dyson Diesel Trap (X007)

Having tackled health in some loosely-connected way (you need to vacuum, and, err, keep those hands nice and dry, to ward off bugs and bacteria...), Dyson once looked at how to use diesel engines to clean the air, rather than pollute it.

Given Dyson's cleaners can filter out particles down to 0.5 microns in size, the company figures it should definitely be able to conquer diesel particles which roll in at 2.5 microns in size. But how?

Dyson explored using cyclones, but ditched that upon realising the energy consumption was too high to be feasible. Moving onto condensing oil onto the small particles in order to increase their radius was looked at next, but similarly ditched when engineers realised the particle size was inconsistent and it just wouldn't work that way. Electrostatics were looked at next, where an electrical discharge ionised and collected the particles before burning them off.

For many years now, we've been speculating about Dyson launching its very own car, or at least, car technology. While that never materialised, it's still satisfying that those rumours had some merit.

Dyson Fuel Cell

It's little surprise Dyson once looked at converting hydrogen and oxygen into electrical energy -- the very core of Dyson's ethos is in harnessing the earth's power to do things more efficiently than its rivals.

10 Dyson engineers worked for three years on adapting a Dyson digital motor for working in a fuel cell, with their initial results proving effective. Now that they've been able to prove their V4HF motor can increase power density by 20 per cent while also increasing start-up times by three times, they're looking at ways to apply this thinking to other products.