Game Changer: Graeme McPherson


June 19, 2017 | BY Mia Borromeo

Mia Borromeo chats with Dyson Design Engineer Graeme McPherson about the intelligent hairdryer at the launch of the sensational Dyson Supersonic

PTH_04012017-286.jpgDyson Design Engineer Grame McPherson with Miss Universe-Thailand 2015 Nat Aniporn

Founded by the brilliant inventor James Dyson in 1991, the UK brand synonymous with cutting-edge technologies and design officially launched its latest star product across Southeast Asiathe Dyson Supersonicin Bangkok, Thailand. Powered by the V9 digital motor (Dyson’s smallest, lightest, and most advanced digital motor to date), it works up to eight times faster but is quieter and more compact than conventional hairdryers. A thermosensor, furthermore, regulates temperature to prevent heat damage to hair. Unveiled to the Asian press by Dyson lead engineer Graeme McPherson, the impressive event allowed us to see and experience exactly why this amazing gadget has been flying off the shelves.

Philippine Tatler: Dyson is most known for its cutting-edge electric fan and vacuum cleaner, what made you come up with the Supersonic hairdryer?

Graeme McPherson:  Simply put, Dyson is about solving problems. Inventing things that perform better. And with it getting rid of every day frustrations. James Dyson saw it with vacuum cleaners. Bags had been the norm for decades, and no one saw any reason to innovate or improve their technology. But James realised there was a better way and invented the cyclonic vacuum cleaner which took the world by storm. Since then Dyson has continued to invent relentlessly.

It took a big investment, over 1,600 kilometres of hair to be tested, 109 engineers and more than five years of research, development, and design before we were satisfied. Ultimately, I think that people respect Dyson for not rushing – technology drives our decisions, not the latest fad.

PTH_04012017-285.jpgDyson’s patented Air Multiplier™ Technology

PT: What key features make it different from what is currently available in the market?

GM: With the launch of the Supersonic we made our first steps in the business of beauty. We realised that people are attached to their hair and not just literally, but emotionally. Dyson engineers needed to understand hair in order to truly transform the hairdryer, which had not fundamentally changed in form, function, or technology since the 1960s. Every aspect of the machine is considered.

The Dyson digital V9 motor sits at the core of the machine to deliver fast airflow with it giving a much faster dry time.

We realised damaged hair caused by overheating was a big frustration, so we invented an intelligent heat control system. A glass bead thermistor measures the temperature 20 times a second and transmits this data to the microprocessor, which is able to adjust the temperature to prevent hair damage from extreme heat.

And we worked closely with several professional stylists to understand what their frustrations with existing hairdryers were and how to solve them. Both Akin Konizi (four times awarded as British Hairdresser of the Year) and Brooke Bohan (top London stylist) helped in the development of the professional concentrator which now has a wider nozzle opening to cover the full widthof a brush and fast/precise airflow at the point where it hits the hair.

PTH_04012017-83.jpgFront and side view of the Dyson Supersonic™ hairdryer; magnetic attachments: smoothing nozzle, diffuser, and styling concentrator

PT: Apart from your U.K. headquarters, Dyson has a research laboratory in Singapore. Could you tell us more about this?

GM: Dyson has committed an investment of GBP 1.5 billion in Dyson’s global future technology. We’re already working with 40 universities around the world. And opened the door to a 50-acre campus in UK where over 3,000 people are developing Dyson’s future technologies.

The Singapore Technology Centre employs 1,100 people, a third of which are engineers, who pioneer new connected technologies, intelligent machines, and research into homes of the future. Alongside the UK team, the Singapore engineers played a significant part in the development of the Dyson Supersonic, specifically focusing aerodynamic and acoustic engineering.

PT: What’s next on Dyson’s drawing board?

GM: Nothing is clear about the future and there will always be more problems to solve – that is the exciting thing. There are huge gains to be made in material science and robotics. Autonomous machines, batteries which last longer, and super materials that can allow us to create lighter, stronger machines. They will shape tomorrow’s technology and spur leaps across industries. So you can expect the unexpected from Dyson.