Scot develops dust-busting hovercraft
Another British scientific first
Readers might be forgiven for thinking that boffins could not possibly squeeze any more innovation from the humble vacuum cleaner. After all, we now now have micro-filtering vortex hoovers with sufficient power to make short work of the cat — without loss of suction — and more accessories than you can shake a feather duster at.
That would be to underestimate the creative power of the British mind, however. Step forward Mike Rooney and his Airider  - the world's first hovering hoover which uses a "1400-Watt Thermal protected high-speed fan motor, creating 192 MPH high velocity airflow for maximum suction at base of hose".
Blimey. The Airider apparently took eight years to develop and major manufacturers' interest in the concept was limited to offering to buy Rooney out. Now, however, he has perfected the design and is poised to launch an 80-country sales blitz.
We wish Rooney well with his Airider, but suspect that he will meet a fair degree of scepticism from the British buying public - as did his fellow hooverologist James Dyson . On the other side of the Pond, in contrast, once an enthusiastic US military get hold of the Airider they will invest huge sums in improving and expanding the concept to the point where it can be used to transport hundreds of Marines on clean-up operations  world-wide while we Brits will be back to sullenly pushing a broom around our fluff-filled domiciles. ®
Thanks to all those readers to have asked us to note that Hoover got the jump on this one way back yonder with the 1952 Constellation. According to 137.com : "Later models were said to 'float on air' — a cute advertising gimmick but in reality all it meant was that the exhaust blew onto the floor under the metal ring that the machine rested on. This did make it easier to drag the machine around; the exhaust formed a sort of cushion of air. However, it also affected the suction power of the machine because the free-flow of air through the cleaner was impeded and tended to blow dust around when the machine was lifted from the floor. A textbook example of form not following function!"