The Dyson Supersonic hairdryer has got to be one of the most revolutionary products in the hair care industry we’ve seen in recent years. Did you know that this iconic product was actually co-developed between Malmesbury and Singapore? (By the way, we’ve reviewed the SGD599 hairdryer and told you if we thought it was worth its price.)

And we won’t be surprised if more cutting-edge technology will be developed in Singapore in the near future, especially with Dyson opening its new Technology Centre in Singapore, following an investment of £330m. The brand shares that the new facility has the latest development labs, to bring together the latest hardware and software expertise. It also plans to grow the Singapore-based engineering team by 50 per cent, and is looking to hire 110 software engineers.

Founder Sir James Dyson, who was in Singapore for the opening of the Technology Centre last month says, “It is no coincidence that we are deepening our investment in Singapore to achieve our technology ambitions. Right here, some of the world’s brightest minds are working on artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, fluid dynamics, vision systems to bring hardware, electronics and software together.”

The Control Tower at the Centre displays real-time supply chain and logistics data to respond to events as they happen and to mitigate risks in its supply chain. The Technology Centre is also 30 minutes from West Park, where one of Dyson’s patented digital motors comes off the production line every 2.6 seconds. Click through the gallery at the top of this article to have a glimpse of the technology centre.

On top of having the chance to tour the Technology Centre, we took the opportunity to interview Tom Crawford, Head of Product Development, Environmental Control to find out more about the Dyson Supersonic Hairdryer, which even Korean A-lister Song Hye Kyo loves.

Tom Crawford, Head of Product Development, Environmental Control

What inspired the deviation from the conventional hairdryer design? What are the scientific and artistic intentions behind the design of the Supersonic?

At Dyson we take on a technology-led approach. Form follows function, which means that we always look to engineer a machine that performs better first, before looking to the aesthetics. The problems with conventional hair dryers were clear. They are bulky, ill-balanced and loud because of a grossly oversized conventional motor.

They cause damage to hair because of unregulated temperatures. With these key problems in mind we thought of ways to bring in our expertise in motors, air multiplier technology and software to reinvent these archaic machines.

We engineered a new motor – the Dyson digital motor V9. It is powerful, yet small and light enough for us to place it into the handle. Doing so helped us solve two problems. By moving the weight of the motor from the head to the handle, the machine became much easier to use. It also delivers much more powerful airflow, helping people cut down their drying time.

We then harnessed our expertise in heating and air multiplier technology, and integrated it into the Dyson Supersonic. This consequentially gives it its signature blade-less aesthetic. We obsess over the finest details – every feature, down to the buttons of the machine was thoughtfully considered. Essentially, the way the Supersonic looks is a direct result of the technology that exists in the machine.

By moving the weight of the motor from the head to the handle, the machine became much easier to use. It also delivers much more powerful airflow, helping people cut down their drying time.

Dyson Fluid Dynamics Lab

How would you explain in layman terms the propelling of air so powerfully through a hollow nozzle?

When a lot of air is channelled through the annular aperture (the hollow opening) of the machine, it creates a powerful jet of air shaped like an ‘O’. The speed at which the air exits the machine creates a big difference in air pressure against the surrounding environment. What happens next is that the air from the surrounding environment is pulled along into this propulsion of air to equalize the pressure, resulting in greater airflow. This phenomenon is what gives us the ‘air multiplier’ effect.

We were told that the sound that the Supersonic produces is put through tests till extremely comfortable to our ears, but how many decibels is it registered as? How does increasing the number of blades on the digital motor from 11 to 13 reduce the noise level of the Supersonic?

Conventional hairdryers run at about 80 DB, whereas the Dyson Supersonic runs at 73 DB, which makes it 60% quieter than conventional machines (the decibel scale is logarithmic). At Dyson we don’t just look at the volume of the machine, but also the quality of the acoustics – specifically tone. By introducing 2 further blades into the impeller, we were able to push one sound frequency of the V9 motor to beyond human audible range. This is what allows you to have a normal conversation with someone in the same room, even while you’re drying your hair at the maximum speed setting. A key reason for the difference in noise can be explained by the frequency of motor vibrations.

…the Dyson Supersonic runs at 73 DB, which makes it 60% quieter than conventional machines

Dyson Acoustic Lab

How much faster than regular hairdryers does the Supersonic take to dry wet hair, and what is the secret behind its ability to dry hair fast yet keep it healthy?

Depending on your hair type, we’ve received feedback from some of our users that it has their cut drying time by as much as half.

How fast your dry your air depends on two factors. Heat and airflow. Conventional hair dryers have weak airflow and worse – they blast your hair with uncontrolled levels of heat, leading to irreparable damage. Heat in particular causes the follicles of your hair to splinter and fray, leading to a dry, dull and frizzy appearance.

To introduce powerful airflow in the Dyson Supersonic, we combined patented Dyson digital motor V9 technology and Air Multiplier technology. We then paired that with an intelligent heat control system – comprised of a microprocessor and a glass bead thermistor. They act as the brain and thermometer of the machine, and work hand in hand to maintain temperatures at below 100°C to protect your hair’s natural shine.

Depending on your hair type, we’ve received feedback from some of our users that it has their cut drying time by as much as half.

It was explained to us that the Supersonic is suitable for the hair types of diverse ethnicities. How does it cater to the health of so many different types of hair?

We invested in a bespoke, state of the art hair laboratory to understand the science of hair. We also tested over 1010 miles of hair to ensure that the Dyson Supersonic delivers consistent results, regardless or your hair type.

Future Lab

Is the Dyson team working to improve any specific aspect of the Supersonic in the next generation model? Will there be a next generation model?

We are constantly look at ways to improve our technology. With the launch of the Singapore technology centre, we are now looking at ways to introduce intelligence in our machines. We are also investing heavily in the realm of solid state batteries. Beyond that, I’m afraid we never revealing the specifics of what we’re working on.

Are there other beauty tools that the Dyson engineers are looking to improve?

I could invite you to take a peek in our Future Lab at the tech centre to find out what we’re working on, but I’m afraid we wouldn’t be able to let you out thereafter!

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About the Author
Kristen Juliet SohIn her 30s, Kristen Juliet Soh is the editorial director of Daily Vanity, and has spent more than a decade in the field of journalism and content stra...Read More