Drying up

When it comes to drying oneself after washing, the towel may not be the best option. So what could replace it?

Drying one's hands after washing them is a function that has received a remarkable (indeed, some might say disproportionate) amount of attention from the technological community in recent years. Indeed, many of the greatest brains at Dyson seem to spend time thinking of little else, which has led to developments that have made the asthmatic wheeze of the traditional hand dryer a thing of the past. However, while hand drying is now achieving ever-higher levels of sophistication, the rest of the human body (barring, perhaps, our hair) is sadly neglected when it comes to drying technology. Most of us, on emerging from the shower or bath, still fall back on the traditional bath towel. This solution has, of course, been with us for years and some might argue that 'if it ain't broke, don't fix it'. However, there is considerable evidence to suggest that towels are less than good for us. This is because, whenever you use a washcloth, hand towel, or bath towel, skin cells slough off your body and stick to the fabric. Those cells serve as food for bacteria. Plus, bacteria thrive in the damp, densely woven material, which has lots of nooks and crannies for them to hide in. As you reuse towels, these bacteria can transfer back to you and cause skin infections. Given this, perhaps it is time to call for a new means of drying one's body? And that is this month's challenge. Of course, dripping dry and air-drying are options, but they take a long time and require the dry-ee to be naked for considerable lengths of time – which can prove socially awkward and lead to difficult questions – particularly if undertaken outside. Alternatively, one could use a large fan. However, this would be likely to blow moisture across the room, which in one sense just moves the problem from one place or another. Also, the prospect of standing near whirring fan blades whilst in the altogether is a rather alarming one, to say the least. We have a solution in mind that is neat, takes up relatively little space, but is apparently effective. However, you may well be able to come up with something better. We look forward to finding out. -Solution- Solution to the September 2014 Coffee Time Challenge The solution to September's challenge of coming up with a means of drying the entire body comes from a team of designers from the USA who have turned the idea of the hand dryer upside down to create the Body Dryer. According to Tyler Overk from the Body Dryer Team, the body dryer is designed out of a need to "replace bacteria filled and environmentally harmful bathroom towels." The Body Dryer is sturdy enough to support a 325lb (170 kg) person and is reportedly capable of drying a damp individual in approximately 30 seconds using compressed, ionized air. It has strategically angled vents to provide optimal removal of the water and the air stream can be personalised through different shaped nozzles on the footplate that develop a cylindrical tunnel of air around the user. There's also the option of hot or cold air and a digital scale is built into the unit. The Body Dryer team has already more than doubled its US$50,000 crowdfunding goal through Indiegogo. It's anticipated the unit will sell for US$250 should it make it to market.