British manufacturer Dyson wants to tap further into the bathroom fittings industry. It hopes to do so with the launch of the Airblade Tap.

Launching on 5 February, and shown to Wired.co.uk last week, the Airblade Tap is a product that combines a bathroom faucet with the company’s high-speed hand dryer system in a single unit.

The premise is simple enough: place your hands under the tap and water automatically dispenses for you to wash them; spread your hands underneath the “branches” of the tap and integrated Airblade jets dry you off.

The problem Dyson believes this system solves is that of wet, slippery floors. With the hand drier integrated over the sink, excess water filters down the plug hole instead of being blown onto the bathroom floor.

In practice the system is effective, taking about 13-14 seconds to fully dry our hands when we tested. The jets of air felt familiar when compared to the experience of using one of Dyson’s upright Airblade systems.

Behind the scenes is the same motor that powers those upright systems, albeit in a new, smaller form that the company says took seven years to develop, at a cost of £26.9 million.

With a £999 price tag, the Airblade Tap may not find itself on the shelf of your local B&Q. But a number of architects are understood to have shown an interest the system already, with the London Serpentine Gallery being one of the first to sign up for an installation later this year.

The design smacks of traditional Dyson thinking: take an existing product category and try to improve it. Recent examples include the Dyson Hot room heater and of course the expanding line of vacuum cleaners.

But it’s worth thinking about what’s next […]