Gear: November 2008 Archives


November 22, 2008

Flew out of MSP today and saw that the bathrooms are fitted with the new Dyson airblade hypervelocity hand dryers. I tried it but I can't say I'm very impressed. The first problem is that you have to stick your hands up to the wrists in this gizmo which looks like it might be some sort hand guillotine that Saudi Arabia would use to punish you for dryness theft. That would be offputting enough in any case, but coupled with the name Airblade I must admit I felt a bit squeamish.

Anyway, I screwed up my courage and shoved my hands in, which brings us to problem number two: the opening is really small, so you tend to bang your hands on the sides on the way in or the way out. This sort of defeats the one of the major advantages of an air hand drier, which is to say that you don't have to touch surfaces which might have been contaminated by the grubby fingers of those with less obsessive-compulsive washing habits than your own. Unfortunately, the small orifices makes the exercise of drying your hands kind of like playing an adult-sized version of Operation The first time I tried it, I touched the sides on the way in. No buzzer went off, but I decided it was best to rewash my hands and give it another shot anyway.

I will say that the Airblade lives up to its name in one respect: it produces a quite forceful blast of (extremely cold) air. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem to get your hands very dry and after I pulled them out the tips of my fingers were still dripping water. Part of the problem here seems to be that they want you to pull your hands out slowly, which is difficult to do smoothly without touching the sides (see above) and in my eagerness to preserve my fingers I may have gone too quickly, resulting in suboptimal moisture removal. Even so, I still managed to bang the back of my hands on way out, producing the need to wash my hands yet again. This time I just wiped them on my pants.