In the build-up to the launch of the new Dyson Corrale hair straightener, we had the opportunity to interview the company’s mercurial leader Sir James Dyson.
We asked him about the importance of battery technology is to developing future products like the Corrale. Dyson has previously mentioned it is investing heavily in future battery tech and the Corrale uses a 4-cell battery that's the same spec as Tesla use in their vehicles.
"We think it's crucial", Dyson told us. "At the moment, we're still using liquid electrolyte batteries, the most advanced form. Hopefully one day – we’ve been researching for about seven years and continue to do so – [we’ll introduce] a new solid-state battery. We think that's the product that's absolutely the future.
"Who wants to be tied with a cord to a socket as you go from one country to another. think I think battery technology - lighter, cheaper, smaller batteries - are very much the future for a lot of products."
We also asked Dyson what convinced him that the Corrale was a product to bring to market. "Oh well, it was very easy. We've been studying hair science for six or seven years now.
"One of the things that concerns us most is the damage done to hair by the heat, it weakens the fibre and makes it look like old rope. It stops it looking shiny and glossy. Instead, it looks dull because there’s no light reflected from it.
"Hair irons were the obvious product to go for having done the Supersonic and the AirWrap. It’s very natural for us to develop a way of imparting less heat but with the right amount of tension. By the way, the other thing about applying to much heat is that it ruins the colour as well."
The key part of Corrale is the magnesium copper flexible plates which have 15 slots cut into them so they wrap around the hair. We asked Dyson how impressed he has been with the technical feat that engineers were able to achieve with them.
"Making the plates has been a huge technical achievement because the copper is first machined and then it’s wire eroded with an extraordinary degree of accuracy, about 60 nanometers.
"So making the plates and making them work was a great technical achievement. And also getting in enough battery [life] that can last for the long session that someone might need it for."
The price point
Dyson was very straight-up in telling us that the plates were “very expensive”, saying the machining and wire eroding is costly. He cited them as a reason for the $499/£399 price point of the Corrale.
"We design a product without compromise, so we’re not designing down to a price. “We design the best technology and the best product and, you know, that results in the in the price."
Dyson also commented on the potential impact on supply from the coronavirus outbreak. Like other Dyson products, the Corrale is made in Malaysia and the Philippines "It has caused problems because we've got some components made in China. We're hoping to [solve] those problems."