back to article Dyson sinks £1.4m into Cambridge engineering chair

Vacuum-maker James Dyson has plunged over a million pounds into funding engineering research at Cambridge University. And he doesn't just want the funded boffins looking at vacuum cleaners. One of the billionaire's stipulations for the post is that it will encourage speculative research into areas that may not be commercially …

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Drat

I really did think this was going to be about new, high-tech seating.

Possibly with built-in beer.

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My first thought, also.

The £1.4m pricetag seemed a *little* high, but this is Dyson...

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Facepalm

Ha!

Cambridge University know a sucker when they see one.

I'll get my coat

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Actually, sounds like a bargain

Put 1/1000-th of your wealth into something (that's like $250 or something for mere mortals like you or me), get plenty of kudos for it *and* get the first commercialisation opportunity to make huge amounts of money off of any useful ideas/inventions they come up with.

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Anonymous Coward

Read again: Dyson

When you are into the vacuum cleaner business, being a sucker is a good thing.

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Joke

What we really want to know

But will have to wait to find out is whether the job sucks or not.

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FIA

Good on him

James Dyson does seem to put his money where his mouth is.

I first heard about him many many years ago, when seeing a documentary about the state of British innovation. It concerned this crazy inventor guy who'd come up with a crazy new idea for a bagless vacuum. He'd sunk loads and loads of his own money into it, and shopped it round all the big name manufacturers, to little interest.

In the end it was only the fact he was able to licence it in Japan that allowed him to make enough money to start up his own manufacturing company.

Good to see he's not only done quite well out of it but is reinvesting in the country too.

"But the core work of the funded chair will on fluid mechanics, especially airflow in fans and compressors in the hope of bringing better cooling to the many machines that use fans – from laptops to cars."

SemiAccurate[1] reported on some work done into a new type of cooler by Sandia National Laboratories in the US that sounds very promising. Turns the fan/heatsink concept on it's head.

http://prod.sandia.gov/techlib/access-control.cgi/2010/100258.pdf

It basically integrates the fan and heatsink, improving the efficiency and reducing the propensity for dust build up. This could be a real significant area of research if the reported energy savings are true.

1. http://semiaccurate.com/2011/07/11/rotating-cooling-fins-to-save-the-world/

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Read his book

It is most inspiring.

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Anonymous Coward

@FIA 20:36

Sandia heatsink coverage right here:

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/07/12/air_bearing_heat_exchanger/

You do know that Dyson shipped all his manufacturing jobs (around a thousand?) from Wiltshire to Malaysia around ten years ago?

What is there to know about airflow in fans and compressors that Rolls Royce in Derby, and the universities they work with, don't already know? Other than how the jet engine business will survive once jet fuel becomes unaffordable for mass market leisure travel, obviously.

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@ac 05:11

There still quite a lot to learn about airflow in fans. And the similarity between a jet engine and a, for example, processor fan ends with the fact they have blades.

Take a look at how aerodynamics has changed over the last 10 years in F1 cars. Going from hard edges to smooth organic structures. That's hasn't yet happened with most fans. They are still straight bladed simple devices, which haven't changed at all in donkeys years. Presumably they are easy to make that shape so no-one has ever bothered making them better.

Now someone wants to.

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because

he moved his manufacturing because the local authority wouldn't give planning permission to expand manufacturing where it was.

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Megaphone

Sorry, I can't hear you!

I hope the first task they're set is to design a silencer for all those noisy machine Dyson makes.

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newsflash

spinning physical things around very fast unavoidably creates quite a lot of noise.

newsflash ends!

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Superposition to the rescue!

Perhaps so, but having a speaker that plays white noise or the noise of the vacuum but opposite amplitude should cancel the noise out. Patent pending soon...

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It is silent

When you compare it to rainbow vacuum monster, another weird invention, it is silent.

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Glad someone is sinking money into R&D. No chance the gubbermint ever would

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Anonymous Coward

R&D

No reason why the government should.... they spend enough on the Research Councils as it is.

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FAIL

except...

...it sort of does. rather a lot of money, in fact. Try three billion quid. http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/Pages/Home.aspx

Of course, that's rather been slashed in recent years, as part of the austerity program. Because, you know, all that useless pontificating is just a waste of taxpayers' money, rite?

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Intellectual vacuum - Excellent Subtitle

Just wanted to say that

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He's not the messiah

James Dyson, saviour of the UK...... well Malaysia, which is where he shifted the vast majority of production to several years ago.

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Anonymous Coward

why it went to Malaysia

Anonymous as I used to work there,

But as someone already rightly said they weren't allowed to expand, even on to the site opposite where the old secondary school was demolished to make way for a housing estate.

Other hindrances that the council imposed also made it difficult, there are actually more people working there now than when it was combined R&D and a factory, as both parts of the business, the factory and R&D have increased massively. As a result of more people being there it was becoming impossible to drive and park there and if you look where Malmesbury is there's not much other option than to drive, the council wouldn't increase the bus service nor would they allow the carpark to be extended. If the goverment had wanted big manufacturing to stay UK based it could have made it easier.

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Anonymous Coward

I expect Malmesbury thinks it is quite all right without grubby manufacturing types and their constant deliveries and activities - it's not that sort of place.

Not sure why they denied Dyson planning permissions for this swimming pool though - maybe they've just got something against Norfolk folk.

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Anonymous Coward

"the council wouldn't increase the bus service "

You wot? Putting several arguable points to one side...

What on earth has the bus service got to do with the council?

Public transport (including the bus service) is driven by market forces these days. If Dyson wanted more buses, he could have paid for them himself, just like my present employer is promising to when they move hundreds of employees from a wreck of a factory conveniently situated in an accessible location with lots of local facilities, to a "world class" business park ten miles (and frequently three quarters of an hour) away with absolutely no facilities and in the middle of nowhere with no practical access except by car.

Nothing to do with the council either way.

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"Fluid mechanics was the research area that led to Dyson's innovations with vacuum cleaners..."

That's funny.

Dyson admitted on a TV he stole(sorry was inspired by) the idea whilst walking past a Sawmill. The conical fan used to pickup all the sawdust was doing the same job for decades if not longer.

JD then 'ran' home and used a kitchen oil funnel in tandem with a normal vacuum cleaner.

In summary he just reduced the size.

Mediocrity borrows.Genius steals

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