獨家專訪:James Dyson 介紹 Corrale 直髮造型器背後的科學秘密

來看看為什麼 Dyson 要挑戰直髮造型器市場。

Richard Lai
Richard Lai, @richardlai
2020年03月11日, 凌晨 12:28
24分享次數
James Dyson and Corrale
*English interview transcript available further down this article.

相比之前「只」打造了 600 多台產品原型的 Supersonic 吹風機和 Airwrap 美髮造型器,Dyson 今天發佈的 Corrale 更是來之不易,一共花了 3,690 台原型機才能推出這台奇特的直髮造型器。它到底是如何能夠大幅減少傷害頭髮呢?其錳銅合金彎曲面板背後的原理是什麼呢?這次我們有幸與 Dyson 創辦人兼總工程師 Sir James Dyson 在 Corrale 的全球發佈會前進行獨家專訪,讓他為親自參與開發的這款機器揭開神秘面紗。

JD:哈囉 Richard,我希望你在香港安全啦。那邊最近都受不少事件影響,不過我希望你都還好。

RL:非常感謝你!我的理解是你現在身處巴黎,因為你在準備主持一場活動。

JD:其實就我自己做啊,我不會主持什麼活動。【笑】我們是故意沒有帶任何人來。我就是主持自己。就我自己一個人。這裡只有一位攝影師。

RL:還好啦,所有人都會從世界各地觀看。

JD:嗯,我不知道啦。就我而言,這裡只有我和攝影師。【笑】

RL:說起現在這個狀況,你最近應該沒法回去新加坡吧?

JD:嗯,我希望很快就可以吧,因為我認為他們在控制方面做得非常好。他們非常嚴謹,並且都在採取正確的措施。因此,我估計實際上這是最安全的地方之一。

RL:我一直好奇你如何分配在英國和在新加坡的時間,因為估計你主要都是來回這兩地。

JD:我們在這兩地都有研發中心,馬來西亞也有。我們剛在菲律賓開始,而且我們在美國和日本也有。所以主要是在這兩、三或四個中心之間來回。我都是平均分配各地的時間。

RL:喔,有意思。

Dyson Corrale prototypes

JD:而且這對我們很重要,因為我們在亞洲就有很多、很多、很多客人。另外,對我們來說,在亞洲駐紮部分團隊是非常重要的,以理解我們當地的市場和使用者。所以我們既是亞洲公司,又是英國公司,當中還混入了一點點其他東西。這確實就是我們。我不會視我們為一家英國公司⋯亞洲對我們來說是一個很重要的市場,而且我們都在那邊生產所有東西。

RL:很好。其實我也去過你們的馬來西亞研發中心,確實令人大開眼見。幾年前,應該是 Supersonic 推出沒多久後,我也拜訪過位於 Malmesbury 的總部,留下了深刻的印象。那我們進入正題吧。所以是 Dyson Corrale?我這個唸法正確嗎?

JD:Corrale,就是「O.K. Corral」(1881 年的 O.K. 牧場槍戰)那個唸法("kor-raal")。這個字是「聚集」的意思,因為相比傳統的扁平直髮造型器,我們這款是以一個橢圓形之類的空間來收集頭髮並包起一小簇髮束。這個我們是利用了很有趣的柔軟錳銅合金面板來達成,它每隔兩至三毫米有一個開槽,讓它可以屈曲。

Dyson Corrale's maganese copper alloy plate
不知道你見過人家如何做曲線的踢腳線。他們是在每隔半吋切割一下,到差不多要切斷木頭,這就讓木頭可以沿着曲線彎曲。我們就以類似的方式處理錳銅合金面板:我們以機械加工切割幼縫,幾乎要切穿金屬的。然後我們以線切割至 60 微米的極精確厚度,這樣我們就造出柔軟性剛好、不會斷掉的錳銅合金面板。這些柔軟金屬面板就以橢圓形之類的空間包起一小簇髮束。

傳統的扁平造型器只會把頭髮散開,之後你要把造型器壓住來施加張力。問題就是儘管你已經壓著一點頭髮⋯裡面還是有空間讓不少頭髮——尤其是最接近邊緣的——沒有被壓到,讓它們逃走了。

拉直頭髮的關鍵是拉緊和加熱。熱力當然會改變並重組頭髮裡的化學鍵,而拉力會把頭髮拉直。所以當你用傳統造型器夾一次的時候,很明顯會有相當比例的頭髮沒有被拉緊或加熱。你看人家夾的時候就會看得到,那些頭髮會逃出來。想用同樣力度來處理所有頭髮的話,就只能重覆做幾次——同一簇髮束可能要五次,五到六次。

這樣所帶來的問題——先假設你有充足的時間——就是你在使用太多熱力,你在過度加熱頭髮。使用扁平的面板來壓住頭髮也會把它過度加熱,因為你在對大量頭髮施加大量的熱力。反之,我們的柔軟面板和這個橢圓形空間則可以讓你平均低拉緊頭髮,從而免卻重覆夾同一簇髮束的需要。

Dyson Corrale flex copper plates
另外,你可以想像一下髮束的橢圓形橫截面,這裡有一個有趣的現象,就是這簇髮束的厚度會令最外層的頭髮冷卻下來。不知道你有沒有在學校做過這個實驗,就是用本生燈燒著裝滿水的紙袋。

RL:我有啊!

JD:你應該記得,那個紙袋沒有燃燒起來。它本來應該會燒起來啊。同樣道理,一簇髮束的核心可防止最外層被燙傷、燒灼。所以不管是什麼溫度⋯如果我們把 Corrale 和一台傳統直髮造型器設定為同樣溫度的話,Corrale 夾住的頭髮永遠會低 20 度左右,因此對頭髮的傷害較小。

而關於熱傷害,相信所有傳統直髮造型器的使用者都知道會損害頭髮,會令頭髮失去一半強度,導致它更容易斷掉。對美妝一族來說,更嚴重的是,每根髮絲會沒有燒傷前的光澤和柔順,反而會變得像一條舊繩般的毛茸茸。這樣就沒法反射光線,沒有光澤。所以燒傷的頭髮會變得黯淡無光,沒法反射光線並變得脆弱。

另外,熱傷害會去除頭髮的顏色,而有超過百分之 60 的人有染髮⋯我沒有染過頭髮,不過我聽說這需要花很多時間。【笑】嗯,起碼暫時還沒有。【笑】我聽說這需要花很多時間,也很貴。其實熱傷害去除顏色的速度是蠻驚人的⋯你卻花了這麼多錢和經歷這麼多痛苦去染髮。

所以熱傷害會令頭髮受損,變得黯淡無光、死氣沉沉。它會去除顏色也導致頭髮失去一半的強度,令其容易斷掉。這些就是我們想解決——並已經解決——的問題。

Dyson Corrale 造型器
我們也加入了來自我們無線吸塵機的電池技術和電源管理技術,也就是說你可以在計程車、洗手間、辦公室或家裡的任何地方——在鏡子前,在吃早餐時,隨你喜歡——都可以拉直頭髮。所以你有自由,你不需要在電源插座附近蹲著。你也可以帶它去旅遊,而且我們有一個拔出來就完全斷電的小插頭讓你安心飛行。同時它也提供一個貌似絲絨性質的防熱收納袋,所以你可以把它包起來,放在你的行李箱或者手提包裡。

RL:嗯,不得不說,看起來不錯。

JD:對,因為使用者喜歡「補給」。你在上班時可以用,而你之後要出去吃飯或演唱會或其他活動的話,你可以很快的拉直頭髮或者來個曲髮造型,或者你要什麼就做什麼。

RL:所以總的來說,這是為了讓你節省時間,亦因為不用拉直那麼多次而減低過熱損傷。我的同事 Cherlynn 有在紐約摸過 Corrale。令我驚訝的是,她告訴我說她每晚睡覺前都會弄頭髮,而不是第二天出門前準備。這款產品看來能幫她大幅節省時間。她說這可能可以把她平常弄頭髮的一個小時降至半個小時而已,所以這對像她這種使用者來說顯然是一大優勢。不錯啊。

JD:嗯,用一個小時去弄頭髮真的是很長時間,對吧?【笑】其實呢,我會把美貌排第一,就是光澤亮麗頭髮排第一。然後損傷,然後時間,這樣的順序。當然,任何人都可以有自己喜好的順序。這三點就是我們追求的。啊,還有靈活性,能夠在車裡使用。是說 Cherlynn 都可以在上班途中在車裡、火車上、地鐵上⋯

RL:最好不是在開車的時候用啦。【笑】

JD:嗯,不,也許不行。Uber。

RL:對,Uber。所以呢,我理解的是這款產品花了七年時間去研發,並好像是跟 Supersonic 和 Airwrap 同期開發的。這兩台我家裡都有,不錯用。

JD:喔,很好。

Dyson Corrale 造型器
RL:所以我一直在想,我跟你都是男生,但這些產品都不是給男生用。至少不是每天都會用吧。不過我想從你的角度來看你對 Corrale 和相關產品在研發方面的貢獻,因為聽說你要親自核準這款產品的幾乎每一個項目。

JD:啊對,我有參與它的研發。所有產品都有。這是我每天的工作。這是我享受的,這是我受訓而準備的。研發這些技術很令人著迷,開發那些面板也非常有趣。我們都穿越了好幾公里的髮束,了解頭髮,並學到有什麼會影響到它,有什麼會損害它及有什麼會令它光澤亮麗。這些基本因素對所有人來說都是關鍵。這是美貌。你的頭髮幾乎是你身體最重要的部份。其他部份都長時間被衣服包著。【笑】

RL:除非你喜歡戴帽子吧。

JD:那除非你有⋯總會有一部份在邊緣露出來啊。可能你在戴帽子是因為你已經損害了你的頭髮啊!

RL:嗯...這有點爭論性吧。反正這還是有時裝的元素。

JD:對,還有幫你保暖。

RL:其實我想說的是⋯其實,有趣的是雖說你不一定每天都會用這款產品,但是你還是能夠為它們提供反饋。從你的角度,你為 Corrale 帶來的最大貢獻是什麼呢?

JD:喔,你是說我本人?我完全不知道。是說,我們一直都在研發很多技術和很多產品,而且我們不會說誰做了什麼因為⋯很明顯,工程師們去研究所探索東西,然後他們會邀請我去看看他們的項目。然後我會提供意見,然後我們會開會,然後我會提供意見,然後很多人會提供意見。我們不會將單個主意歸因於任何一個人。有時候會有發明者在專利上獲提名,但是⋯所以我完全不知道。

RL:嗯,那你也很客氣的。

JD:在許多方面,單挑任何人出來是蠻陰險的,因為很多時候都是一群人想出主意和研發東西等等。不過挫折,你知道嗎,是一個⋯明白挫折。我們開這些會議的時候,我們進去研究所的時候,我們不是在看我們在哪裡成功了;我們是在看我們在哪裡失敗了,因為你會從失敗中學習。



English transcript:

JD: Hello, Richard. I hope you're keeping safe in Hong Kong, Richard. It's been so battered by many things, but I hope you're well and safe.

RL: Thank you so much. So I understand that you're calling in from Paris because, well, you're now hosting an event there.

JD: Actually, I'm doing it on my own. I'm not hosting anything. We deliberately haven't got anybody coming here. I'm hosting myself. I'm on my own. There's only a cameraman.

RL: Well, everyone will be watching globally.

JD: Ah well, you see, I don't know about that, it's just me and the cameraman, as far as I'm concerned.

RL: So speaking of the situation, you won't be able to go back to Singapore anytime soon, right?

JD: Well, I hope so soon, because I think they've done a really good job of containing it. They're very strict and are doing all the right measures. I suspect, actually, it's one of the safest places to be, because of that.

RL: I've been curious as to how you split your time between the UK and Singapore, if these are indeed the two main places you spend most of the time at.

JD: Well, we've got research and development centres in both of them, and Malaysia. We're starting in the Philippines, and we've even got some in the United States and Japan. So it's a matter of traveling between the two, three or four centres. And I split it pretty evenly.

RL: Oh, interesting.

Dyson Corrale copper plates
JD: And that's important for us because we, you know, we have lots and lots and lots of customers in Asia. And it's very important for us to be partly Asian-based, to understand our market and our people there. So we're part Asian and part British, and a little bit of few other things thrown in. That's really what we are. I don't really think of ourselves as a British company... Asia is such an important market for us, and we make everything there as well.

RL: Awesome. Well, I have been to the Malaysian R&D center. That was pretty impressive. And a few years back, I think it was shortly after the Supersonic launch, I visited Malmesbury which was nice. So let's go straight to the topic then. So it's the Dyson Corrale? Am I pronouncing it correctly?

JD: Corrale, as in the "O.K. Corral." "Gathering" is the word, because what we're doing compared with flat irons is gathering the hair and holding it in a very well-contained tress with a sort of oval section, and I mean that's accomplished by having very interesting flexing -- or flexible -- copper plates. So every 2 or 3mm there's a slice across the plate that allows them to flex.

Dyson Corrale spinning copper plates
I don't know if you've ever seen them doing skirting around a curve, they do a saw cut every inch or so... every half inch, almost through the wood, and that allows the wood to bend around the curve. And we've done a similar thing with copper plates: we machine them, and machine, if you like, a slit, which almost goes through the copper. And then we wire erode it to get a very, very precise thickness to within about 60 microns. And that allows us to get exactly the right amount of flex without the copper breaking.

And these flexible plates hold the tress in a sort of oval section, whereas flat plates splay the tress out, and you then apply tension by squeezing the plates together. And the problem is that whilst you might squeeze one bit of hair... the gap that's left allows quite a number of hairs -- particularly the ones towards the edges -- to not be squeezed at all, so they become flyaways.

Straightening hair is about tensioning it and applying heat. The heat obviously changes the bonds in the hair and rearranges them, and the tension makes it go straight. So when you do a one-pass with flat irons, obviously quite a proportion of the hair isn't being tensioned and heated, and you can see that when you see someone doing it, they become flyaways. And you get them all, for the same level of tension, by doing many goes -- probably five goes, five to six goes on the same tress.

Dyson Corrale
The problem with that is that -- you know, if you've got the time -- the problem is that you're applying far too much heat. You're overheating the hair. And you're also overheating the hair because you're squashing it flat, you're applying a huge amount of heat to a large number of the hairs, whereas with our flexing plates and this oval section, you're evenly tensioning all the hair, so that you don't have to do so many passes.

And there's an interesting effect -- if you can imagine this oval section of the tress -- which is that the thickness of the tress cools the outer layer of the hair. Rather like boiling -- I don't know if you ever did it at school -- boiling a paper bag full of water on a Bunsen burner.

RL: Yes I have!

JD: If you remember, the paper didn't burn. It was supposed to burn. You got rather the same effect with the hair tress, in that the cooler core stops the outer from scalding, being singed. So whatever the temperature... if we set our irons at the same temperature as the flat irons, the hair is always 20 degrees or so cooler, so we cause far less damage.

Dyson hair analysis
And the thing about heat damage, which I think everybody who uses flat irons knows, that they're damaging their hair. It physically makes their hair half as strong, so it snaps much more easily. But almost worse than that, from a beauty junkie's point of view, is that each hair, instead of being shiny and smooth like hair that hasn't been overheated, is it becomes like a bit of old rope, all sorts of hairy. And the problem with that is that it doesn't reflect the light, it's not shiny and light-reflecting. So hair that's damaged is dull, doesn't reflect the light and is weaker. So it looks dull and lifeless and not shiny and glossy.

The other thing is that overheating removes the color in the hair, and over 60 percent of people dye their hair, which... I've never done it, but I'm told it takes quite a long time. [chuckles] Well, not yet, anyway. [chuckles] I'm told it takes quite a long time, and it's very expensive. And it's actually quite remarkable how quickly overheating removes the color, which is... you've spent so much money and gone through such agony applying.

So overheating damages the hair, makes it look dull and lifeless and not shiny and glossy. It removes the color and it makes it half as strong as it should be, so it snaps very easily. So those are the problems we wanted to overcome and have overcome.

Dyson Corrale at EMC Lab
We've also put batteries in from our battery technology in our vacuum cleaners and battery management system, which means that you can straighten your hair in an Uber taxi, or in the loo or at work or wherever you like in the house -- in front of a mirror, while having breakfast, whatever. So you've got freedom, you don't have to do it while crouching down in a corner near a socket by a mirror. You can travel with it as well, and we've got a little plug you pull out when you go on an airline. and it comes with a soft heatproof bag which looks like velvet, so you can wrap it up, put it in your suitcase or in your handbag.

RL: Yeah, it's pretty nice, I have to say.

JD: Yeah, because, you know, people like to top up. You use it at work, and if you're then going out for a meal or going to a concert or something, you can just quickly straighten the hair or give it a curl under, or whatever it is you want to do.

RL: So it seems like this is all about saving you time, which therefore also reduces heat damage because you don't have to do it so many times. I think my colleague Cherlynn, she actually had a briefing in New York as well. To my surprise, she told me that she actually does her hair every night before going to bed, rather than doing it the next day before going out. And this is obviously going to save her a lot of time. She said it might reduce her hair prep from one hour down to maybe half an hour, which is obviously a big plus for people like her. So that's very impressive.

JD: Yes, an hour doing your hair is just a lot of time, isn't it? [chuckles] Actually, I'd put beauty at the top, shinier and glossier hair at the top. And then damage, and then time, in that order. But anyone can put it in whatever order they like. Those are the three things we're after. Well and, you know, flexibility, to be able to do it in a car. I mean Cherlynn could do it in the car on the way to work, or on the train, on the Underground or...

RL: Preferably not while driving. [chuckles]

JD: Well, no, perhaps not. Uber.

Dyson Airwrap, Supersonic and Corrale
RL: Yeah, Uber. So actually, my understanding is that this product took about seven years to develop and that was alongside... around the same time as the Supersonic and the Airwrap, both of which I also have at home as well. Very nice piece of kit.

JD: Oh good.

RL: So I was wondering, obviously, you and I both being blokes, these aren't really the kind of devices that we as men actually use. At least not every day anyway. But I was interested in seeing your perspective in terms of your input into the development for the Corrale or any related products really, because apparently you had to personally approve almost everything about this product.

JD: Oh, yes. I'm involved in it, in the development of it. In all of them. That's what I do every day. It's, you know, that's what I enjoy, that's what I was trained to do. Developing the technology is fascinating, developing those plates was really interesting. We've gone through many kilometers of human hair tresses, understanding hair, and learning what manipulates it, what damages it and what makes it shiny and glossy. And all those basics are really key for everybody. It's beauty. Your hair is almost the most important part of your body. The rest of it is covered up in clothes, usually. [chuckles]

RL: Unless you like wearing hats.

JD: Well, unless you have... there's still bits showing at the edges. Maybe you're wearing a hat because you've damaged your hair!

RL: Well... that's debatable. I mean, there's some fashion element to that, anyway.

JD: Yeah, and keeping you warm.

Dyson Corrale
RL: But what I'm trying to get to is... I mean, it's interesting that even though you may not necessarily use that product every day, you're still able to provide your input into these products. From your perspective, what were your biggest contributions to the Corrale?

JD: Oh, you mean personally? I have absolutely no idea. I mean, we're developing lots of technology and lots of products all the time, and we don't say who's done what because... Obviously, engineers go off and discover things in laboratories, and they invite me to go and see what they're doing. And I make suggestions, and then we have meetings, and I make suggestions, and lots of people make suggestions. And we don't attribute the idea to any one person. Sometimes there's an inventor named on a patent, but... so I have absolutely no idea.

RL: OK, that's very gracious of you.

JD: In many ways, it's insidious to single anyone out because often it's a group of people coming up with ideas and developing things and so on. But failure, you know, is a... Understanding failure. So when we have these meetings, when we go into laboratories, we're not looking at what we've succeeded; we're looking at what we've failed, because it's from failure that you learn.

Gallery: Dyson Corrale 直髮造型器動手玩 | of 14 Photos

  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget
  • Dyson Corrale 造型器
    Dyson Corrale 造型器
    圖片來源: Richard Lai/Engadget

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