The King of Suck

We write about Dyson's high-tech vacuums a
, and today I got a chance to meet the man behind the machines, Mr.
James Dyson himself. He was in town to show off his super-fast hand dryers
(which we blogged about last
), but I was more interested in the motor inside the dryer, which
doubles as the powerhouse of the DC12
sold in Japan.

This brushless electric motor, controlled by a
computer chip, is about half the size and weight of a standard vacuum motor,
but it can spin three times faster and create more suction. And because it
has a computer chip in it, it can do all sorts of other things that you
wouldn't expect a vacuum to do—like talk on the phone.

Dyson said that when
the DC12 rolls off the production line, its chip is packed with product
data, like the kind of testing it's undergone. Then every time you use the
vacuum, the chip updates itself with the number of times you've used it and
some performance stats. If you ever call customer service, you just hold
your phone up to the vacuum, and the chip transmits info as a sound, like a
fax machine. This often gives customer service enough details to diagnose a
problem right away, without you having to reel off serial numbers or
remember the minutiae of your vacuuming difficulties.

As Dyson explained,
this is a low-tech way of getting the high-tech connected appliances that
we've all been waiting for.—Lauren Aaronson