Dyson does it again with “The Ball” Jason 14 Mar 2005

30 comments Latest by Christopher Fahey

Here comes some more inventor envy... James Dyson, my personal inventor hero of the moment, just reinvented the vacuum again. This time it's not the suck, but the move. Forget back and forth, here's The Ball and here's how it works.

The designers and engineers at Dyson looked at how people use an upright vaccuum and noticed that to make the cleaner change direction you had to make your body change direction too. This requires your full weight and strength to maintain momentum in the turn leading to sore backs, arms and less efficient cleaning.

Here are some pictures. The ball also contains the motor and also serves to reduce noise. What a great design solution. Go Dyson! BTW: If you are an entrepreneur and want to be inspired, read James' autobiography "Against the Odds."

30 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Adam Michela 14 Mar 05

That vacuum is awesome! That website… is not!

Time for 37BetterDyson.

JF 14 Mar 05

Dyson, now there’s a client we’d LOVE to work with.

Christian Gloddy 14 Mar 05

Seeing as how none of Dyson’s other vacuums have faired well in real testing against the competition, why echo the marketing that this will fair any better? A different approach by a smart engineer does not always result in a better solution. Only controlled testing can reveal the truth. Meanwhile, smart marketing makes money.

Erica 14 Mar 05

I have a Dyson, and I have 3 friends who have Dyson’s, and we’re thrilled with them. Way better than anything else I’ve ever used. I’m not concerned with tests, I’m concerned with what works best for me. In my book that’s Dyson.

RS 14 Mar 05

Only controlled testing can reveal the truth.

On the contrary — controlled testing only reveals what you test.

evan 14 Mar 05

if only they weren’t so expensive… maybe when i’m rich and famous one day, my place will get a dyson clean.

JonB 14 Mar 05

I have no idea who had the idea first, but my mother has a Hoover FreeJet, which uses a universal joint to connect the upright section to the ‘chassis’. The joint enables the whole upright section to rotate in 2 axes simultaneously. Is this the same principle as the Dyson? Different class of vacuum cleaner, but same ease-of-use principle.

You may be interested to know that, as well as being wireless (rechargable) and bagless, it’s also pretty lightweight (7 lbs), easily stored (the top half of the upright section folds down, halving the overall height) and cheap (around UKŁ70/US$130). OK, maybe that was too much information.

I tried to find a web page that demonstrates or describes this model… I think it’s European-only, and none of the Hoover websites I found do much to promote its features (maybe they need a good going over with a 37BetterHoover?)

This page contains the best image I could find. The universal joint and its effect are not shown, unfortunately, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

I am no expert on the vacuum cleaner market (unlike some people around here), so maybe the Freejet’s features aren’t so special? My mother is definitely pleased with it.

I’ll go with the Dyson though. A fine beast :p

Andrew 14 Mar 05

Jon B:

Go to the flash version of the site, click on the problem and then watch the video. I’m pretty sure no one has done this before. I’m also pretty sure one man has spent too much time thinking about vacuums.

seth 14 Mar 05

….must…satisfy….ocd….urge….to….clean……neeed….new….vacuum….

argh!@

Joshua Kaufman 15 Mar 05

My favorite selling point: Dyson says “If a couple buy a Dyson, the man is 45 per cent more likely to do housework than normal.” I can’t speak for all men, but I can say in all honesty that our Dyson is one of the most well design products I have used in my life. It’s right up there with the 4th generation iPod in my opinion.

JonB 15 Mar 05

Andrew:
I’m pretty sure no one has done this before
You may be right, but having had a closer look at the way the Dyson is jointed on the Flash site, I am sure it is the same basic engineering principle as the Hoover FreeJet - a universal joint. The biggest difference is that the Dyson joint mechanisim looks to be a far more evolved design. From the Flash demo, it even looks power-assisted.

I am going to stop thinking about vacuums now.

Paday 15 Mar 05

It amazes me how people jump to the conclusion that design solutions are brilliant without using the product. How many of you have used the product yet proclaim its brilliance?

In my opinion it’s an interesting engineering concept but a very problematic execution. It’s very heavy and argueably MORE difficult to maneouvre than a traditonal push/pull vacuum cleaner.

By the way, it’s not power assisted.

Adam Michela 15 Mar 05

heh, yeah there is nothing more i hate than vacuuming. except maybe folding laundry…

but if i had a dyson… i would make an exception :drool:

Lisa 15 Mar 05

My favorite selling point: Dyson says “If a couple buy a Dyson, the man is 45 per cent more likely to do housework than normal.”

We have a Dyson and I wish my husband fit that stat. :)

Lisa 15 Mar 05

How many of you have used the product yet proclaim its brilliance?

In my opinion it’s an interesting engineering concept but a very problematic execution. It’s very heavy and argueably MORE difficult to maneouvre than a traditonal push/pull vacuum cleaner.

I have one and it is brilliant. I have the canister version. I’m 9mos. pregnant and I can still push it, pull it, carry it upstairs and empty the canister with ease. Having a couple of yellow labs who shed like crazy, I use it daily (no exaggeration). Plus it’s the only vacuum I’ve ever owned that hasn’t lost suction.

Dan Boland 15 Mar 05

Man, you 37s sure do love you some Dyson… We have a friggin’ Oreck. =( Hey, it was free.

JonB 15 Mar 05

This page is in danger of becoming the definitive online source for vacuum cleaner facts and reviews.

Dave Woodward 15 Mar 05

Drat. Right after I plunk down the dough for a brand new Dyson, they come out with a better model. Between Subaru putting a 2.5l engine in the WRX this year, and Dyson adding a ball to their vacuum, this could be a very expensive year! (And it would be even worse if Apple released a G5 powerbook at WWDC).

paday 15 Mar 05

Quote - I have one and it is brilliant.

This thread was about the DC15 - the new ‘ball’ cleaner - I was specifically talking about the new DC15 which was only launched yesterday and in the shops from today. So I’d be amazed if you had one :)

Ryan Powers 15 Mar 05

I can’t help but wonder why we’re so afraid of being inefficient. Doesn’t feel good to sometimes do it the old fashion way? I dunno, it’s great that the man is a design genious… it really is. But sometimes, I want to feel like I’m working.

I suppose it is good for those who may not be able to vacuum otherwise… those with back problems, etc. its about time we put the disabled to work ;)

Tork 15 Mar 05

I dunno how the thing works or how clever the engineering .. but dang, it just *looks* overdesigned and overthought, like some mad prop let loose from the set of Star Wars, Total Recall, or Brazil.

Lisa 15 Mar 05

Man, you 37s sure do love you some Dyson… We have a friggin’ Oreck. =( Hey, it was free.

Yeah, but that Oreck guy just isn’t as sexy as Dyson ;)

One of several Steves 15 Mar 05

I hope the vacuums work better than the site. If I want to “learn about the ball” from the quick overview page, all I get to learn about is a 404 error.

Anonymous 15 Mar 05

I was immediately reminded of the Ball Wheelbarrow when I saw this. When I looked for a picture of the Ball Barrow, I was surprised to discover Dyson’s first invention was the Ball Wheelbarrow. I’m wondering if this is more innovation for innovation sake and less a solution to a problem (“let’s see – we need a new feature – what can we change?”). I think it might leave distinctive lines on rugs.

Arne Gleason 15 Mar 05

I didn’t notice the name field was blank. No longer Anonymous.

indi 15 Mar 05

I think it might leave distinctive lines on rugs.

… but at least they’d be clean lines :-)

Lurker 16 Mar 05

But it looks to have a very high “instep”, i.e. it doesn’t look like it would fit very far under sofas etc.

Christopher Fahey 19 Mar 05

I never understood all the design-world hype over this Dyson guy. Besides the fact that his machines look like long-lost Micronaut playsets, which is certainly very cool, there is no evidence that they actually perform any better than their much-cheaper proletarian competitors.

It’s surprising to see Jason praising a device so clearly bloated with excess style and widgetry (admittedly I haven’t used it). A vacuum cleaner is a simple thing: A hole on one end, a bag on the other, and a sucking motor in there somewhere. Sometimes the hole is at the end of a hose, sometimes the hole rolls on the floor. If the thing manages to be lightweight, powerful, easy-to-store, affordable, and long-lasting all at the same time, then it’s a good vacuum. It seems plainly obvious that the Dyson fails on at least two of those counts (lightweight, affordable), if not more (easy to store? powerful suction?).

The “Dyson Ball” to me seems analogous to the little “Scrubbing Bubbles” characters who magically clean your bathroom without you having to lift a finger — just another fancy smoke-and-mirrors sales pitch designed to seduce the overworked homemaker into thinking that, finally, a miracle has arrived to make their life easier. The difference with Dyson is that the target audience is not homemaker women, but toy-obsessed men.

-Cf

Christopher Fahey 20 Mar 05

I didn’t mean to come off so negatively up there. The Dyson vacuum could very well be a joy to use to those people who, unlike me, have actually used it… and I certainly do love Micronaut-based design!

-Cf

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