Earlier this week, I took a look at a stunning, silence-celebrating concept dwelling called the Quiet Treehouse —an “extraordinary tribute to the serene and ultimate luxury of quiet," if you will. On display at London’s Ideal Home Show before being relocated to a children's hospice, the Blue Forest-designed structure showcases a range of noise pollution-combating building materials and low-noise gadgets and gizmos that have garnered a hush-worthy stamp of approval from the Noise Abatement Society’s Quiet Mark initiative.

Coincidentally, I’ve also had the pleasure of testing out a certain Quiet Mark-certified product on display in the Quiet Treehouse in my own non-treehouse home — a product that I found to be pretty not too horribly noisey when first released. Now, it's nearly, completely silent.

The product in question would be the Dyson Cool, a game-changing — and mind-boggling — blade-free family of desk and tower fans first released in 2009 by the innovation-crazed British company best known for its highly covetable vacuum cleaners. Launched under the name Air Multiplier (a term now used to describe the patented technology that drives these beautiful but expensive machines), the Dyson Cool was joined by the Dyson Hot in late 2011. I’ve used this space heater spin-off of the original Air Multiplier to zone heat my apartment for a couple of winters now — it’s helped me save on monthly gas bills while also eliminating any worry about dangerous space heater-related mishaps. 

As for the re-engineered and re-launched Dyson Cool fans, they’re more powerful and a whopping 75 percent quieter than their predecessors, which, as I mentioned before, is quite the feat considering the original models, in my experience, were far quieter than their bladed brethren although there were complaints from some users about the noise that they generated (the non-Dyson fans that I also use must be really loud, I guess).

The new models also consume 40 percent less power than the original models which is a nice perk considering that the price tag attached to these bad boys — the desktop model retails for $300 — can be prohibitive. Like Dyson’s legendary vacuum cleaners, a Dyson fan is a big-ticket item that’s a shoo-in for high-end wedding registries. Or just anyone who likes to splurge on truly innovative product design. 

An impressive amount of time and manpower went into the development (three years! 65 engineers! 640 prototypes!) of the new Quiet Mark-approved fans that, like the originals, are safe to operate, easy to use, and an absolute breeze to clean. 

In a semi-anechoic chamber, 10 microphones arranged in a virtual hemisphere measured sound power levels. Binaural recording devices studied sound quality. UV paints and smoke were passed through the machines to identify and visualize airflow turbulence's — captured by high-speed cameras. And aero-acoustic rigs isolated motor bucket sound.
I'd also like to think that being the wizard that he is, Sir James Dyson himself contributed to the process by standing over early prototype machines with an index finger positioned over his pursed lips much like the bespectacled school librarians that we all tormented as children. Sssshhhh!

The big change between past and current models?

Now housing a Hemholtz cavity, designed to capture and dissipate motor noise. The motor is also calibrated to run slower without affecting cooling performance. And an eccentrically aligned loop allows air to enter with less turbulence, further reducing noise.
With the addition of the Hemholtz cavity, Dyson engineers were able to eliminate tones of 1,000hz — that's roughly equivalent to the annoying hum produced by mosquitos while beating their wings.

Dyson sums up things up in simple terms: “Some fans are quiet but weak. Some fans are powerful but noisy. The new Dyson Cool fans are quiet and powerful.”

Any Dyson fan fans out there care to back this statement up? Have you found the new Dyson Cool fans significantly quieter than the first-generation models? Does the sound produced by a table or floor fan even matter that much to you? To be honest, while I'm mighty impressed with the work of the Dyson engineering team, sometimes I like a fan to be on the louder side as I find that gentle roar to be reassuring, weirdly comforting — and, most important, it helps block out the noise from the bar located directly across the street from my bedroom window.

And since I wasn't able to embed a couple of videos produced by Dyson that further explain the new technology (you can view them here), I'll let Dave Gahan and co. take it away ... 

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Smooth operator: Dyson bladeless fans now quieter, more efficient
After years of testing, the always-innovating engineers at Dyson have taken the company's bladeless fan and made it smoother, sleeker and almost silent.