In the spirit of reporting on technology, I feel compelled to report on the latest gadget to enter my home -- the DCO7. What is it, you might ask? A miniature rocket? A new USB device? This, my friends, is the most amazing vacuum cleaner I have ever used. I call it the Macintosh of Vacuums due to its elegant engineering, thoughtful design, and superior performance.
The product is made by Dyson, a British company founded by inventor James Dyson. His story, also described by Forbes, is compelling. His recent TV ads show him describing how he thought other vacuums didn't do a good job. 5,127 prototypes later, he invented the Dyson. He shopped his bag-less design to the major vacuum manufacturers, who passed on his technology. Dyson claims the manufacturers make $500 million per year selling bags, so they were not interested in ending that income stream by selling a bagless vacuum.
Once the manufacturers realized how good Dyson's system worked, they introduced their own inferior products and even tried to copy his patent-protected technology outright. Dyson won a patent infringement claim against Hoover. (This is the sort of use for which patents are appropriate, unlike software patents.) According to a Dyson press release describing Hoover's patent infringement guilt, "Hoover later admitted that they 'regret that Hoover as a company did not take the product off the shelf, take it off Dyson; it would have lain on the shelf and not have been used,' (Hoover’s Vice-President, Europe 1995)."
I had no idea how vacuums work until I learned about the Dyson. His insights make me wonder why anyone bothers buying products using inferior technology. Dyson knew that vacuum bags are porous to allow air to exit the bag as it draws up dirt from the ground. Like most people, he thought the vacuum lost suction once the bag filled with dirt. He observed, however, that the pores needed to maintain suction quickly become blocked, even with a barely filled bag. Blocked pores reduce suction, not a filled bag. Within minutes of using a normal bag vacuum, you've effectively lost the suction needed to remove dirt.
Dyson's product does use two filters, but the first need only be washed every six months, and the second has a lifetime warranty. Dyson's site claims "Dyson Root Cyclone technology uses 100,000G of centrifugal force in the cyclones to filter dust and remove dirt from the airflow efficiently. Because there is nothing to obstruct the airflow, it doesn't clog and doesn't lose suction." I'd like to see the calculation for the "g" rating, but the no-clogging feature appears genuine. The proof of its superiority came when I ran it through a room I had just cleaned with my old vacuum. The Dyson filled its cannister with dirt and dog hair missed by the old unit. You can see the hair culprit pictured above.
If you'd like to read more about Dyson, check out the Amazon.com reviews.