5 minutes with James Dyson

Tonight the Dyson company officially unveiled its Air Multiplier, a fan with no blades (you can check out our hands-on review here). Hosting the event was James Dyson himself, who explained how the new device works and invited those in attendance to "get cool." We stole 5 minutes with Dyson to talk about his latest product and why his company decided to reinvent the table fan.

What are you trying to accomplish with this product?
The blades [on regular fans] cause a problem. Fingers get caught in them, among other things. And it's difficult to clean.

Why do you call it the Air Multiplier? What exactly is getting multiplied?
The air intake into the base. We use a turbine impeller to pull air into the base, which then multiplies the air 15 times when surrounding air is drawn into the stream.

Why is it so noisy?
Well, you've got a high amount of airflow. And actually we've done a lot to make it quieter. The impeller has asymmetrical fins — totally enclosed — so that cuts down a bit. Plus each fin has three tiny little holes in it, and that helps. But we're working on it. We hope to cut [the noise] down even more by the time it's in major distribution.

Why do this particular product? Did you just wake up one day and say, "I want to reinvent the fan now?"
We don't do it like that. We see that we have a great technology, and then we see what we can do with it. We don't make a decision to just go into a certain sector. It's all technology-based.

What do you say to critics who say that a fan from Wal-Mart is just as good as your $300 product?
We give you much smoother air. Besides, that fan is dangerous, and difficult to clean.