James Dyson--the British king of suck, inventor of the cyclonic vacuum--has been awarded a patent for an enitrely new product line: A modular, space-saving kit for kitchen appliances.
Usually, your blender, toaster, tea kettle, and food processor are all bulbous, separate pieces, which monopolize entire swathes of counter space. Instead, Dyson proposes an appliance system composed of rectangular units that can be easily stacked together, eliminating wasted space. The appliances could plug into a common power supply, to further trim the total size. The control panels would all be on the front, providing easy access; the flat surfaces would be easily wiped down. One configuration even includes a water tank/filtration system that could replace both tea kettles and water coolers.
Dyson, for it's part, isn't committing on a release date for such a product. As a spokesman told the New Scientist, the company is working on a number of new technologies, but won't be commenting further, for the time being. But it's clearly a massive market opportunity and a potentially industry-shifting innovation, just like the cyclonic vacuum cleaner. And it cannily has an up-sell built in: If someone's going to buy a Dyson toaster, wouldn't they consider upgrading their blender as well, to get the look of the system and save space? Those with new kitchen might buy the system in toto. That doesn't happen on the market today.
For Dyson, the timing couldn't be better. The company has become a textbook example of how innovation can yield market-share dominance with breathtaking speed (and has made James Dyson a billionaire), but its growth in the U.K. and U.S. has slowed lately. Could kitchen appliances be the company's new source of growth?
[Via New Scientist]
[Images via US Patent and Trade Office]