A Cog In The Future
ELLE Singapore|January 2021
Is it us, or are beauty tech giants Dyson and Foreo… Clairvoyant? Surely there must be some wizardry behind their every product drop that successfully inches the benchmark for tech in the beauty industry higher. We kid. An in-depth look at the creation and motivation behind these seemingly “cult” machines reveal that they weren’t made with pixie dust after all, but instead, the hurrah of problem-solving
Chelsea Tang

To put things into context, four years past the supposed Mayan-predicted End Of The World was when Dyson first introduced a piece of technological genius to the beauty scene, marking its foray into the sphere of haircare tech — a drastic, yet, in hindsight, not unbelievable move from their speciality in cordless vacuum cleaners. The Supersonic debuted, in all its sleek grey and fuchsia-accented glory, as a hairdryer that looked nothing like its other-brand predecessors. It didn’t have bulky covering to house a big motor; in fact, just a form so minimal, it could actually afford a donut hole-esque feature in its design.

But to simply ogle at the admittedly well-ahead-of-its-time machine doesn’t quite do its £50 million (approx. S$90 million) investment justice — Dyson, in the making of the Supersonic, had a bespoke Hair Laboratory in Malmesbury built, where scientists, engineers and hairstylists looked at everything hair, from airflow dynamics to the hair’s cellular structure, all in a bid to create the one hairdryer that the world has not only never seen before, but never thought they needed. The secret lies in the patented digital motor V9, a motor so nifty that it can be housed in the handle of the Supersonic, taking in air from the bottom of the machine, then twice the amount using the (once again, patented) Air Amplifier technology embedded in the top of the machine, to expel jets of air that’s three times its initial intake.

The world’s collective gasp at the futuristic machine probably didn’t come as a surprise to the brand. After all, the team of 103 engineers who worked on the project sought to problem-solve woes right down to its nitty gritty bits — the issue of conventional hairdryers overheating, to the most ergonomic placement of buttons. “Everything that we put into our products has to serve the vision of the problem that we want to solve,” shares Steven Ong, design engineering manager for personal care at Dyson, on engaging consumers in appreciating the engineering superiority the company’s machines. “We always go back and ask ourselves, is this the type and level of technology that we want to give users? Is this the quality that we expect users to love from our products? Is this the future?”

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