Public and workplace restrooms often have far fewer hand dryers than they have sinks to wash hands in, leaving people queuing for a dryer with dripping hands. OK, perhaps it’s not one of the world’s biggest problems. But it is annoying enough to be addressed by vacuum cleaner and Airblade hand dryer maker Dyson of Malmesbury, UK, in a US patent filing: it has invented a water tap that can also dry your hands.
Some fast food joints already have a hole-in-the-wall hand washing system that you poke your hands into, allow them to be squirted with warm water and then dried by a separate air blast from somewhere within the bizarre orifice. Dyson’s claimed novelty appears to be that both the water and the blast of drying air come from one elegant mechanism that can be used at every single sink. No more queues.
space-saving cubic kitchen appliances
But this patent could be different. Why? Because (a) it is an innovative variation on one of the firm’s current, successful product themes and (b) the patent has been given the notably boring title of “Fixture for a sink” – possibly in a bid to make rivals not look twice at it and develop a similar idea that works around the patent. It’s a standard trick.
Top image: Beyond Fotomedia/Getty; Schematic images from USPTO