Home Tech

Identifying Environmental Stressors—and Squashing Them—Is a New Wave of Health Tracking for the Home

Zoe Weiner

Photo: Getty
Awareness surrounding environmental stressors—unending light exposure, polluted air, and constant noise—has flooded onto the mainstream in the last year as we’ve realized that all it takes to be truly well is a few fairly foundational necessities: light that helps our bodies wake and rest, fresh air, clean water, and maybe some steps for good measure. But of course, it’s 2021, and we’re not just flipping off the light switches and opening the windows, we’re utilizing technology to track and enhance our environments to help us live happier, healthier, and even longer lives. At the front of the pack, Dyson is betting on the basics... 2021 style.

With the launch of Dyson’s latest products—the V15 Detect Cordless Vacuum ($700) and the Pure Cool Cryptomic Air Purifier ($650)—the brand is not only helping people identify ways to detect environmental stressors, it’s equipping people with tools to address the root cause of the issue in the first place. As the brand’s founder, Sir James Dyson, puts it: “We’re not only interested in detecting the problem, but we’re also interested in curing it.” It comes at an opportune time, because studies have shown that for many having a cluttered space or dust lurking in the air can translate into real, bodily stress… and truly no one needs more of that.

The past year, most of us have been forced to spend more time in our homes than we’re used to, which has made our homes dirtier than ever, according to one survey. Though you may not have realized it, every time you lit a candle, cooked a viral TikTok dish, or DIYed your own manicure, it had a direct effect on the pollution levels of your indoor air. “In addition to dust and particulate pollution, there are a lot of gases that people are probably not aware of—like the ones from scented candles, household cleaners, cooking oils, paint, varnish on floors, and formaldehyde that comes out of sofas—and these can all be deeply damaging,” says Dyson. “[Nowadays] if [people are] exposed to nasty gases and pollution it’s more damaging because they’re trapped with it. In the old days, we all had chimneys and very leaky homes, so we had a lot of fresh air, but now we have sealed, closed homes and we’re not getting rid of all of these dust particles.”

Because of this, Dyson notes that he’s seen a huge upsurge in people wanting more effective vacuum cleaners and air purifiers, and it was with that in mind that he began to develop the brand’s two latest launches, which effectively act as health trackers for your home. “People assume that if they can’t see dirt, dust, and nasties on their floor that there aren’t any there, but in fact, it’s the things you can’t see that are the ones you need to worry about, because these half-micron sized smoke particles lying on the floor are the ones that will damage your lungs,” says Sir Dyson. “[The vacuum] sends out a beam in front of the cleaning head so you can see the dust, and when you stop seeing the dust in the laser, you know the floor is truly clean.” After the vacuum has gathered the particles, it sorts them by size and counts them, then gives you a reading so you know exactly what (and how much) you’ve picked up.

This is helpful because if you have a bunch of Rice Krispies on the floor, you might not realize that there are also teeny-tiny dust particles that are laced with allergens on the floor as well. While perhaps unappealing to look at, the Rice Krispies aren’t going to do a ton of harm to your health, but allergens can get kicked up into the air and make conditions like allergies or psoriasis flare up. Do you want to be the cereal floor house? Probs not. But equally important that your home isn’t Allergy City, USA.

In a similar vein, the Cryptomic Air Purifier’s technology characterizes the toxins in the air and addresses them accordingly. “It allows you to see what pollution events have occurred within your home, so you can see if you had chemical pollution or candle or cooking or paint pollution, and then the machine automatically turns on and deals with it,” says Dyson. Unlike traditional purifiers on the market, it’s equipped to destroy formaldehyde instead of just trapping the gas in its filter, which can be helpful since many of us have become chefs morning, noon, and night.

The underlying differentiator here is that not only is it important to understand when certain environmental stressors are present in your home, it’s equally important to have assurance that they’re gone at the end of the day so you can optimize your space and your wellbeing. “We very much want to empower people to understand what’s in their home, and make the invisible more visible,” says Lily Grant Thorold, Dyson spokesperson. “It’s very hard to do that because some of the more dangerous particles are invisible to the naked eye, but we want to be able to help people visualize those microscopic particles with our technology, in this case using either the laser [on the vacuum] or the LED screen [on the purifier]. “Aside from keeping your spaces legitimately clean—which, especially during a pandemic, is critical—these new devices come with the added benefit of peace of mind. In arming you with the information you need to keep your home healthy, these devices will ultimately help you stay happier and healthier, too.

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Tags: Home Tech
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