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The New Air-Purifying Dyson Zone Headphones Are as Wild as They Sound

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The Dyson Zone is set to ship this fall.


Dyson

Dyson’s new Zone air-purifying headphone looks like something you’d see in a dystopian sci-fi movie. But it’s a real device you’ll be able to buy sometime this fall, Dyson says.

For Dyson — a company that’s best known for its high-end vacuum cleaners — it’s the first foray into wearable technology. The Zone is a set of noise-canceling, over-ear headphones that “simultaneously deliver immersive sound to the ears and purified airflow to the nose and mouth,” addressing the “urban issues of air quality and noise pollution.” No word yet on pricing, but it seems safe to assume that these will cost more than your typical premium noise-canceling headphones from Bose and Sony, and maybe even more than Apple’s AirPods Max headphones.

There’ve been rumors that Dyson was working on such a device for years. Back in 2018, Bloomberg reported that Dyson was working on an air purifier-headphone combo and in 2020, Dyson applied for a patent for a new pair of headphones with a built-in air filter.


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Dyson for Your Face? Zone Air Mask and Headphones Explained



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“Air pollution is a global problem — it affects us everywhere we go. In our homes, at school, at work and as we travel, whether on foot, on a bike or by public or private transport,” says Jake Dyson, chief engineer (and son of the company’s eponymous founder). “The Dyson Zone purifies the air you breathe on the move. And unlike face masks, it delivers a plume of fresh air without touching your face, using high-performance filters and two miniaturized air pumps. After six years in development, we’re excited to deliver pure air and pure audio, anywhere.”

Dyson says it created 500 prototypes over the course of the Zone’s six-year development.


Dyson

According to Dyson, the air-filtration component is a “non-contact” system, which means it doesn’t touch your face like a mask but rather sits just in front of it. “The compressors in each ear cup draw air through the dual-layer filters and project two streams of purified air to the wearer’s nose and mouth, channeled through the non-contact visor,” Dyson explains. “Sculpted returns on the visor ensure purified airflow is kept near to the nose and mouth and diluted as little as possible by external crosswinds.”

Dyson says that developing a non-contact solution was crucial in order to avoid the “discomfort and irritation associated with full-contact alternatives.” In the latest Dune movie, no one seems to be complaining too much about wearing filt-plugs in their noses to draw moisture from exhaled air back into their stillsuits for later drinking. But in the real world, people can have strong emotions about wearing anything on their faces, particularly masks. 

Dyson says to test the Zone, its engineers used a breathing mannequin named Frank that was fitted with medical-grade mechanical lungs and sensing equipment that replicated human breathing patterns in a controlled chamber. That sensing equipment measured pollution levels within the nose and determined “the filtration efficacy of those particles, which would otherwise end up in Frank’s artificial lung.” The mannequin was named Frank because it reminded the engineers of Frankenstein, a Dyson rep told CNET.

frank-dyson-mannequin

Frank, the mannequin.


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Earlier this year, Razer released its cyberpunk-style Zephyr Pro air-purifier mask. Initially the company said it used N95-grade air filters, but later ran into some bad publicity when it had to retract that designation. Dyson doesn’t reference any medical-mask grades as far as air filtration goes, but does say that electrostatic filtration captures 99% of particle pollution as small as 0.1 micron, such as dust, pollen and bacteria and that a potassium-enriched carbon filter captures city gasses like NO2, SO2 and O3. How much that filter will cost to replace is still up in the air, but filters for its full-size air purifiers list for $70-$80, depending on the model.

On the audio side, Dyson says you can expect a premium listening experience with an accurate, neutral audiophile sound profile and proprietary advanced noise canceling. The headphones are also designed with comfort in mind, though Dyson hasn’t announced how much the headphones weigh or what their battery life ratings are with air filtration and noise-canceling on. Each ear cup houses two motors, and Dyson says they’re the smallest in any of its machines to date. The headphones connect via Bluetooth — no word on what version number — and can also be used to make voice calls.

As soon as we get our hands on a review sample later this year, we’ll provide more details about how the headphones perform and how they feel to wear around the New York City streets and subway system. We imagine we’ll get some interesting reactions from our fellow travelers. 

The Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones key features, per Dyson

  • Radical new format for delivering purified air and high-fidelity audio on-the-go
  • Electrostatic filtration captures 99% of particle pollution as small as 0.1 micron, such as dust, pollen and bacteria
  • Potassium-enriched carbon filter captures city gasses like NO2, SO2 and O3
  • Contact-free air delivery visor channels two streams of purified air to the nose and mouth, engineered specifically for usage outdoors and in crosswinds
  • The smallest in any Dyson machine to date, two motors sit in each ear cup and are the “beating heart” of the Dyson Zone air-purifying headphones
  • Advanced ANC and a high performing neodymium electroacoustic system deliver rich, immersive audio that faithfully replicates audio as the artist or creator intended
  • 15 undergraduate students from the Dyson Institute of Engineering and Technology worked on the Dyson Zone project, supporting disciplines as diverse as acoustics development, electronics and airflow systems.
  • 3 ANC modes: Isolation, Conversation and Transparency
  • Isolation mode: Highest level of active noise cancellation
  • Conversation mode: Activates when you dip the visor –- automatically turns off the purification to conserve battery power and amplifies conversation
  • Shipping this fall



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Overwatch 2 Beta Begins Tomorrow: Start Time and What to Expect

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Overwatch 2 starts its second beta on Tuesday, June 28, for PC and console players. The beta begins at 2 p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT and runs through Monday, July 18. Sign-ups are still open for a chance to participate, and you can still get guaranteed access if you’re willing to spend some cash.  

The next beta will be our first look at Junker Queen, a new tank hero who first appeared in posters on the Junkertown map that was released in 2017. Fans have been hoping to play her ever since, and five years later, we’re finally getting the chance. The new beta also adds a new hybrid map, Paraiso. The developers have laid out their goals for the beta, which include testing server capacity and hero balance. 

Overwatch 2 is the sequel to Blizzard’s class-based shooter, featuring two teams of five players fighting over objectives. Overwatch devs announced in June that the game will be free to play and will launch in early access on Oct. 4. The first beta injected a frantic pace into the game, which was a welcome change from the slower, more grinding pacing that’s plagued Overwatch in recent years. The free-to-play PvP element will bring the game more in line with other competitive shooters, like Valorant and Apex Legends.

How to sign up for the Overwatch 2 beta

Anyone can sign up for Overwatch 2’s second beta, but it’s not technically an open beta. The game will add people gradually as it ramps up server capacity, and the first big wave of beta access will happen on July 5, according to the beta FAQ page. Even if you were in the previous beta, you’ll need to sign up again. 

Here’s how to sign up:

1. Go to the Overwatch 2 beta site.
2. In the top right corner, log in to your Blizzard Account.
3. At the bottom of the Overwatch 2 beta page, choose your platform (and region for PlayStation players).
4. Then hit Request Beta Access.

If you want guaranteed beta access on June 28, you can purchase the Watchpoint Pack ($40). In addition to beta access on day one, you’ll also get two legendary character skins, a unique player icon and enough digital currency to buy the first two battle passes.

How do I download the Overwatch 2 beta?

Blizzard hasn’t released details on downloading the second beta, but it should follow the same process as the first beta. Here’s how that worked:

1. Log in to your Battle.net account and navigate to Overwatch on the game launcher.

2. In the bottom left, click the Game Version drop-down.

3. Select Overwatch 2 Tech Beta to install.

4. When the download is complete, hit the blue Play button to start.

Junker Queen spinning her axe

Junker Queen’s ultimate ability helps her close distance and end fights quickly.


Blizzard

Junker Queen abilities

The new beta finally gives fans a chance to play as Junker Queen, a hero we’ve all been excited about and/or thirsting over since she was first teased on the Junkertown map. Here’s what we know about Junker Queen’s abilities, from the Overwatch Twitter account:

New Hybrid Map: Paraiso

The beta also adds Paraiso, a new hybrid map that explores Lucio’s home, including the DJ’s Clube Sinestesia. As with all hybrid maps, players will start by attacking or defending a control point, and if the attackers succeed, players will spend the rest of the map attacking or defending a payload. 

An underground club with light-up floor

Clube Sinestesia is where support hero Lucio found fame as a DJ.


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For more Overwatch 2 news, check out everything we learned from the Overwatch 2 reveal event.



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Icebergify: How To Create an Iceberg of Your Most Listened to Spotify Artists

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Been on social media today? Seen those bizarre musical Icebergs floating around in your feed? You’re not alone. Screenshots like this have been doing the rounds today, particularly on Twitter. 

It’s all created via the magic of a website called Icebergify.

Using the data from your Spotify listening habits, Icebergify creates an Iceberg of your most listened to artists ranked by popularity. At the tip of the iceberg? Your favourite “mainstream” artists. Your Taylor Swifts, your Beyonces, your Drakes, etc. The further down you go, the more obscure it becomes. It looks a little like this…

If you want to see your own iceberg, you can head to the website directly. Be warned: it does require your Spotify log-in. 

The Icebergify website was developed by Akshay Raj, a freshman studying Computer & Data Science at Rice University. He says he has no plans to monetize the site or use the data collected — which is limited to your username, Spotify account ID and the top 50 tracks and artists listened to over the past few years. 

How does it work? It’s fairly simple. Icebergify takes your most listened to artists and sorts them according to popularity rankings. Streams, shares, saves, likes, and followers are all taken into account. This is why Beyonce might be at the top of your iceberg, but lesser known artists are at the bottom, beneath the ocean. Also worth noting: It seems like Icebergify is being flooded due to its surprising popularity. Head back later if it doesn’t immediately work.





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Apple’s First Mixed-Reality Headset May Sport New M2 Processor

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Apple’s first mixed-reality headset could come with the company’s flagship M2 processor, just one of the “deluge” of new products the company is expected to unveil in the next year, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman reported Sunday.

The M2, unveiled in June, features redesigned central processing units and a significant memory increase, which would provide a significant boost to the much-rumored headset over the previous M1 chip.

The much-rumored headset incorporating both virtual and augmented reality environments is expected to provide a boon to the gaming industry. Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said earlier week that the headset — expected to be announced in January 2023 — would be the most complicated product Apple has designed yet.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has been vocal about his excitement about AR. Earlier this week, he explained that the tech industry is still in the “very early innings” of this technology’s possibilities.

“I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we’ve seen in this space, and sort of stay tuned and you’ll see what we have to offer,” Cook told China Daily.

Other products Gurman expects to debut in the next 12 months include four iPhone 14 models, three Apple Watch variations, several Macs with M2 and M3 chips, iPads, updated AirPods Pro earbuds, a fresh HomePod, and an upgraded Apple TV. 

Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Read moreApple AR, VR Headset Rumors: WWDC, Release Rumors, M1 Chip and More



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