Dyson Tap: Vacuum Company Unveils Faucet And Hand Dryer In One, New Airblades

02/05/2013 03:02 pm ET

Reader's Digest. Angry Birds. A Sharpie to scrawl some graffiti on the stall walls.

Few things have so successfully revolutionized the American toilet experience; but now the British company Dyson, perhaps best known for its gee-whiz vacuum cleaners, appears to be looking to add its name to this vaunted roster, with a new product called the Dyson Airblade Tap. Its game-changing pitch: the Tap combines a working faucet and a hand dryer into a single fixture that sits above the sink, so that you do all of your washing and drying above a single drain, no floor drippage necessary.

Unveiled at an event in New York City Tuesday night, the Airblade Tap can dry a pair of hands in about 12 seconds by "scraping" the moisture from the skin, according to Dyson. The system uses a new, smaller motor that the company says has a much smaller carbon footprint than larger hand-dryers or paper towels. It's also loaded with a "Helmholtz silencer" and a HEPA filter, installed to make the drying as clean and quiet, respectively, as possible.

The big news, of course, is the combination of faucet and dryer. You can watch (and hear!) the Dyson Tap in action below, and check out the proper form you're supposed to use to achieve perfect in-sink hand dryness:

In a speech at the event, British inventor and Dyson founder James Dyson talked up the advantages of the Dyson Tap over traditional hand-dryers, boasting that the Tap is faster and eliminates the pesky need to queue up for the dryer. Also eliminated, Dyson said, is that trail of water you inevitably leave as you walk from sink to wall.

The product is going to face some obvious obstacles. Cost will be one: A single Dyson Tap will run £1,000, or more than $1,500, far more expensive than a combination of a standard faucet and paper towels. And the Dyson Tap might be the only bathroom cleaning/drying solution that comes with a learning curve. It's not entirely obvious that the faucet is touch-free, and you're in for quite a surprise if you try to adjust hot and cold water using those two air-blowing handles jutting out from the faucet.

Dyson engineer Marcus Hartley told HuffPost at the event that the Tap was designed to be intuitive, however, and that the company's research showed that after cleaning your hands in a sink, you naturally shake off the excess water to the side of the faucet, where the Tap's air blows and the handles are positioned. Even if you didn't immediately know that the Airblade Tap contained a hand-dryer, in other words, you would after you finished with the faucet portion of your wash.

dyson airblade tap

Testing out the Airblade Tap.

Still, at the event on Tuesday night, there were a few tentative, confused hand-washers at the demo stations, unsure of where to position themselves. Dyson reps are confident, though, that once people start using the Tap, the action will become second nature -- much the same way the Dyson Airblade dryer may have been confusing at first but is now a staple of public restrooms.

Speaking of which: Also debuting Tuesday night were a lighter, more energy-efficient Airblade, as well as an "Airblade V," a smaller, more stylish wall unit that blows hot air out of a small aperture on the bottom of the device, more like a traditional hand dryer.

airblade v dyson

The new Dyson Airblade V, which blows air out of a very thin strip on the bottom of the device and which can be mounted higher than the traditional Airblade.

The star of the show, however, was clearly the Tap, and its combination hand-washer-and-dryer-in-one functionality. A representative from Dyson said the first units should start appearing in the United States in the next few months, at locations like Harvard University, Disney and Universal theme parks and the new Delta terminal at LaGuardia Airport in New York.

And in case you're wondering, though the new Airblades are intended for use in larger facilities, all models will be available for individual purchase from Dyson. Hartley assured HuffPost that each was quite easy to install in a home restroom.

"Jennifer Aniston owns one," a Dyson representative chimed in.

We have more photos of the Airblade Tap, Airblade V and new Airblade hand dryers below.

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