Why I like Dyson, like their cordless technology, particularly the Dyson V6 Total Clean, and some thoughts on education, particularly in relation to technology and STEM subjects, and The James Dyson Foundation.
I often think about Pip and her future; I don’t think I would be a good parent if I didn’t, so I don’t think it’s an unusual position. However, I feel particularly responsible that I need to ensure that she has all the foundation or building block skills to be able to follow whatever life direction she chooses.
There’s the obvious ones – reading, writing, core academic subjects – some of which we can start with at home, and some of which we will influence by our educational choices for her. Then there are things like the value of money, economics, languages, technology, coding, musical knowledge – reading music and playing, as well as an appreciation for listening – politics, social skills, confidence, caring for others, cooking and so the list goes.
I wonder if part of the reason I worry about this is because as a girl I perceive she *may* end up being guided towards a more caring and arts based career (and therefore it be traditionally lower paid – though that’s a post for another time) if we don’t not only reiterate the possibilities but actively seek to promote more STEM type, problem solving, logical skill sets.
It was therefore with interest that I heard about the James Dyson Foundation when I attended an event at the Dyson showroom in Kensington recently. Obviously I was ostensibly there to hear about the new Dyson cordless vacuum cleaners (and I’ve become rather a Dyson convert – more on that later in the post – in the process) but it was some of the wider issues that I found most compelling.
I was particularly pleased that the discussion and presentation was led by an engineer as we were able to ask questions of him that the marketing team would have been harder pressed to answer. (I will talk about the event briefly in a moment, but for me, when both participating in brand campaigns and reading about other’s involvement about brand campaigns, I am much more interested in issues relating to the brand or company than the actual specifics of the event itself. If you write about an oil company for example, it is not that you sat in a (insert fast car brand here) that will capture my attention, but whether the company is doing anything about trying to reduce carbon emissions. Etc)
First of all, Dyson define themselves as a global technology company which I thought interesting – particularly as I work for a company which also defines themselves in a similar way, although the products we sell are pretty much at opposite ends of the spectrum – so what does that really mean? In Dyson’s case, of approximately 6000 employees, roughly 1/3 are scientists and engineers. Dyson invests a lot of money designing and creating new, patented, technologies to assist with household tasks. I also thought the following quote was worth noting when considering the company, particularly the point about tax and therefore investment into the UK economy:
Dyson is one of the UK’s largest single tax payers and one of its most successful employers, investors and exporters. They reinvest a third of the profits into new product development – to drive future growth. In the past three years Dyson family companies have paid £330m in UK tax.
Second of all, Dyson takes their position in relation to education and inspiring young people to follow careers in design, technology and engineering very seriously and spends a lot of time and money on this.
Dyson works with over thirty universities to develop early stage technologies, including a £5m investment in a joint robotics lab with Imperial College London, and a Chair of Fluid Mechanics at University of Cambridge.
The James Dyson Foundation which assists with teaching resources from primary through to university education, endeavouring to tackle the deficit of (a) a lack of technology and engineering in the UK and (b) to retain those trained in suitable fields in UK employment. I know that some of James Dyson’s comments, particularly on the latter have caused some controversy, but I think it is important that we invest both in the education and training of future engineers and scientists, and we then retain some of that talent in the UK, furthering both UK technology as an industry as well as the economy by retaining technology companies here.
772 schools have benefited from the workshops and packs that The James Dyson Foundation sends out and Foundation also provides bursaries and scholarships to aspiring engineers.
And now, onto the Dyson v6 total clean review and the event. Conventional motors spin at 25,000rpm, F1 car engines at 19,000rpm and jet engines at 17,000rpm. The Dyson digital motor V6 spins at 110,000rpm. That’s a lot of power in a small, hand held cleaner!
We’ve invested more than £250m in developing our own patented motor which spins at up to 110,000 rpm. The power-density that this provides means our machines remain nimble while providing more power than any other.
I was hugely impressed by the machine – both at the event itself, and then afterwards testing the machine in our flat. The weight is all in the part of the machine that you hold, allowing control over whatever you are cleaning, be it carpet, sofa, ceiling or in the car, and is operated by a trigger mechanism. The battery life is only 20 minutes which the first time we cleaned our flat using it was nowhere near sufficient, but we were warned of this at the event. Subsequent cleans, the charge time has been fine, as the initial use was the one that made the most difference in terms of what was lifted from our carpets and therefore took longest and required the canister emptying frequently. It should be borne in mind that this machine was designed for urban living and if you have an entire multi-bedroomed property, there are other Dysons which will be more suited, with the cordless version best at awkward and small spaces.
It comes with a soft roller cleaner head, ideal for hard floors, a direct-drive cleaner head allowing bristles to push deeper into the carpet and a mini motorised tool to remove pet hair and hard to lift dirt, all of which are extremely easy to switch, as well as an extender arm which allows it to be used as a conventional style push along cleaner, or to reach high spaces, but it can also be used with the tools directly on the canister part, as above. We were up and cleaning within about 5 minutes of unpacking the box, although we then did need to wait for a full charge.
At the event, we found it was as easy to vacuum up dust and powder as it was rice and cheerios with the V6, which is unusual, as usually machines cope with one or the other better. This is down to the full width roller covered with soft nylon material and rows of carbon fibre filaments. Large debris is enveloped by the soft material and flung inside the cleaner head, while the carbon fibre filaments remove fine dust. We tested the machines by cleaning up baking powder, rice, cheerios, glitter and coffee, all of which are likely to be found in a kitchen of parents with small children – having fun with some stencils to make words before testing the various attachments on the words.
I was not paid for this post nor to attend the event. I was sent a Dyson V6 total clean after the event to review and keep. All opinions are my own. Photos taken at the event and provided to me by Joe Blogs Blog Network.