20221208 dyson
Image Credit: Dyson

Dyson Ltd. is moving ahead with the launch of a pair of noise-cancelling headphones it says can purify air, moving into a crowded market with a pricey and alien-looking gadget.

The Dyson Zone, as they're called, are priced at $949 in the US, where they'll be released in March, the company said in a statement. China gets them first, in January, and then the UK, Singapore and Hong Kong will also have a chance to purchase the headgear, whose front piece is reminiscent of a Hannibal Lecter mask.

The detachable front bar, which sits over the wearer's mouth and nose and gives the Dyson Zone its unique selling point, is intended to serve a similar purpose to the humble virus-fighting face mask: preventing the inhalation of undesirable airborne particles. Though Dyson has said in the past that its gadget, even with its filtering abilities, was not designed for protection against COVID-19.

The price takes these wireless headphones out of the consumer market "- dominated by Sony Group Corp., Bose Corp. and Apple Inc. "- and sets them on an uphill climb given the top of that segment is marked by the likes of the AirPods Max retailing for $549 in the US.

That isn't deterring the firm better known for its pricey vacuum cleaners, bladeless fans and hair dryers.

The Dyson Zone works with compressors in each ear cup, which draw air in through two layers of filters before projecting it to the nose and mouth. Dyson's filters, which last a year, can capture particles as small as 0.1 microns, Dyson said. Another layer can also filter out odors like construction and sewage fumes or gas pollutants like nitrogen dioxide.

Despite the prospect of a whirring motor ruining the audio experience, Dyson claims the 11 microphones in the product will help reduce ambient noise by as much as 38 decibels. The filtration system and the headphones can run together for four hours from one charge.