It looks like an interdimensional portal from a sci-fi movie, and it supposedly amplifies air.

It looks like an interdimensional portal from a sci-fi movie, and it supposedly amplifies air.

If you want to know how the Dyson Air Multiplier ($330 at Best Buy) works, you'd have to learn terms such as "annular jet," "airfoil," "induced air," "entrained air," "mixed flow impeller" and "airflow projector."

Or you can just accept the fact that this is a pretty cool fan. The Dyson gadget has no blades. It therefore needs no grill to protect you from those non-existent blades. And so it's really fun to put your arm through the hole where the air comes out, knowing you'll be safe.

The fan blows out a cooling, forceful gust of air. With a 12-inch opening, it can tilt and oscillate, and it has variable blowing speeds.

The only downside to the Dyson Air Multiplier is its price.

Let's compare options. The Living Accents Retro Table Fan ($40 at Ace Hardware) is a 12-inch fan with three blowing speeds. It oscillates and it tilts. Admittedly, it has blades that could take off a finger (if you insist on ignoring the metal grill that covers them).

However, at less than an eighth the price of the Dyson, I'll save my cash, take my chances and settle for the Living Accents fan.

Frankly, if I wanted to be totally safe as far as fans go (the bladeless Dyson could electrocute me if its power cord should fray, after all), there's an app for that.

Fan (99 cents from WigitalApps Ltd.) is a two-and-a-half-star app for the iPhone/iPod Touch described by its creator as a "highly realistic, yet totally ineffectual desktop fan."

Simply place your iDevice in its dock, sit back and imagine the cool. The image of a twirling fan on your screen looks and sounds like the real thing at a price that neither Dyson nor Ace Hardware can beat.

Staying cool this summer is essential. How much you spend to do so is up to you.

Got a gadget question or a high-tech toy to recommend? E-mail gspot@columbusalive.com