The Anonymous Widower

A Comment On The Dyson Ventilator

This comment was posted on this article in The Times talking about ventilators.

I work in ITU- I’m with the dyson option. Ventilators are mostly large cumbersome things complicated devices…. if he delivers in time I have no doubt they’ll be great…& maybe better than what we have now…

We have to assume it’s a genuine comment.

Note that the article gives a good description of a ventilator and how it works. As an engineer, it doesn’t seem to be the most complicated piece of equipment.

Think over the last two hundred years how many radical redesigns of common products have been made, that have changed markets.

  • George Stephenson and the railway.
  • Frank Whittle and the jet engine.
  • Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone
  • Alec Issigonis and the Mini
  • Trevor Baylis and the wind-up radio and wind-up torch.
  • James Dyson and the vacuum cleaner.
  • Transistors and integrated circuits have taken over from electronic valves.
  • Mini computers have taken over from mainframes.
  • Flat screens have taken over from cathode ray tubes
  • On-line systems like auctions. banking and peer-to-peer lending.
  • High speed rail is taking over from short distance flights.

We can all nominate our favourite examples of disruptive innovation.

James Dyson and his team have probably looked at the current design of ventilator and concluded that it is complicated, expensive to make and difficult to use and have come up with a better design, that can be built quickly and easily in large numbers.


March 27, 2020 - Posted by | Health | , ,


  1. The fight against Covid-19 is like a war in many respects. Historically, wars have always driven technological innovation, much of which has been put to hugely valuable peacetime use. Sometimes it’s an entirely new invention, but more usually wartime innovations have made use of technology, processes or systems that were already out there but for which there was no commercial market.

    Tech entrepreneurs like to boast they are ‘disruptors’, but they are such amateurs compared with this tiny little bug we can’t even see. I believe that, as in wartime, this virus will drive astonishing, productive change in ways we cannot foresee right now. In medicine, certainly, but also in new ways of working and communicating – hopefully ways that allow us to tread more lightly upon the Earth. The charitable maritime organisation I work with has been forced to explore new ways of communicating with its members and providing vital information and training. It’s forced me to adopt a few new ways too – an older dog learning some new tricks, you could say. We’ve already seen how it has brought scientists together (virtually) from across the Globe, collaborating and co-operating for the first time in efforts to defeat this threat. It’s heartening to see the Chinese playing a humanitarian role in some of the worst-hit countries – that’s something we haven’t seen on any scale before.

    I think we should take a leaf out of Dyson’s book and work on making some positives out of this. During our enforced downtime while we’re confined to barracks we can puzzle out ways of building a better and fairer world in co-operation with people who share our interests and values.

    As with a war, we will deplore the deaths and disruption Covid-19 has been responsible for, but after this is over we may yet be thankful for the benefits it will have stimulated.

    Comment by Stephen Spark | March 27, 2020 | Reply

  2. I very much agree with what you say!

    I also think, that a lot of sacred cows and religious principles will bite the dust in the next few months.

    Comment by AnonW | March 27, 2020 | Reply

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