Summit Up 4-14-10: Where hand-drying goes hi-tech | SummitDaily.com
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Summit Up 4-14-10: Where hand-drying goes hi-tech

James Dyson

Good morning and welcome to Summit Up, the world’s only daily column that’s still a little freaked about something we saw in Las Vegas. No, it wasn’t the plumes of cigarette smoke hanging over the town like a malevolent Star Trek entity; nor was it the horse-faced women with their boobs spilling out of their tube tops braying like hyenas whilst gripping cocktails in disposable 4-foot plastic containers; and it wasn’t the meathead drunk dudes belching loudly as they sucked down cigars and Long Island Iced Teas on the Strip. All worrisome sights, for sure. But what really got us was this thing at the airport restroom for drying your hands.

Called the Dyson Airblade – yet another entry in the better-mousetrap race to replace tried-and-true (but ultimately horribly wasteful) paper towels as the main means of sponging off your slaps after a session at the airport restroom sink (itself an excercise in frustration as you first fruitlessly wave your hand in front of the touchless soap dispenser, then wave in front of the water faucet hoping the electronic eye will detect your mitts and give you a measured blast of water. Mostly we wind up standing there like idiots who look like they’re trying to cast some kind of spell over the sink. But it’s OK in the end, because all the other dudes in the john are casting fruitless spells on the sink as well. What’s wrong with a good ol’ fashioned faucet handle, anyway?)

Ahem, we digress. So the deal with the Dyson Airblade is that, unlike regular restroom hand dryers – where you either push a button or cast a spell to get it going and then rub your hands underneath the downward blast – with the Airblade, you sort of insert your hands into the device as if you’re about to coat both of your hands in hot wax (work with us here). Then, you slowly pull your hands up through the blasting warm air and, after about 10 seconds (ya gotta pace yourself!), you’ve got some nicely wicked mitts. Testing it out, though, we felt funny because we know Dyson is a maker of powerful vacuum cleaners, so we were a little concerned the contraption would suck off all our fingernails or something. And there’s also that concern that comes from watching Indiana Jones movies, where someone has to stick their hands in some place and, next thing you know, they’re being crawled upon by scorpions, giant millipedes and the like. Or, maybe it’s a scam and you put your hands in the thing and WHAMMO! It slams shut and holds you fast while some goons show up and lift your wallet and steal your luggage.

One never knows. In reality, though, the Airblade worked like a charm, even if we felt a little sheepish using it. All the other guys were pulling out yard after yard of paper towel and giving us a look like we were fruits or something, using the sissy Airblade thing when we should be drying off with manly, wasteful paper towels.

Looking online, the Airblade, BTW, costs $1,400. So if you’re planning to put one of these babies in your public restroom, we suggest you accompany it with a zippy ad campaign – something along the lines of “Real men use air to wick their mitts” or something. We may need to work on that slogan a bit …

Anyway, we liked it, and it worked. It didn’t just sit there mocking us like the motion-activated towel dispensers that don’t work half the time and cause you to wipe your hands on your pants (or on your hair, maybe, if you have dreads).

Well, looks like we used up all our space today. Have a wicked-cool Wednesday!


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