RCA student radically improves the UK plug 01.07.09

Written by 

The show-stopper at this year's Royal College of Art graduate show was a plug. About time someone tackled the UK's clunky electrics

The Royal College of Art's graduate show has opened, and this year, the show-stopper was a plug. Min-Kyu Choi impressed every passer by with his neat, apparently market-ready plug that folds down to the width of an Apple MacBook Air. "The MacBook Air is the world's thinnest laptop ever. However, here in the UK, we still use the world's biggest three-pin plug," says Choi.

Choi's plug is just 10mm wide when it is folded. To unfold it, the two live pins swivel 90 degrees, and the plastic surround folds back around the pins so the face of the plug looks the same as a standard UK plug. The idea produced a spin off, too. Choi created a multi-plug adaptor, a compact standard plug sized unit with space for three folded plugs to slot in, as well as one that charges USB devices.

It's so plausible and so obvious a product that it should produce a few red faces; how many more years were we going to attach our palm sized mobiles and wafer thin laptops to an object that's barely been touched since its first design in 1946? Choi picked an everyday product that most other designers find too mundane to dabble with and drastically improved it - exactly the kind of thinking that we should be celebrating right now.




Anna Bates



Read more about the current issue of Icon (pictured below)

148 cover 630


  • Comment Link James Sealey Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:16 posted by James Sealey

    Looks great, but where does the fuse go?

  • Comment Link James Wednesday, 23 September 2015 20:03 posted by James

    Plugs have ONE live not two jheez!!

  • Comment Link Larry bennett Wednesday, 23 September 2015 19:39 posted by Larry bennett

    Where is the fuse?
    That's the whole point of our electrical plugs!
    No fuse = Dangerous

  • Comment Link John f kennedy Wednesday, 23 September 2015 15:29 posted by John f kennedy

    Well done mate. What a brilliant idea
    Regards JFK.

  • Comment Link richard Wednesday, 23 September 2015 15:12 posted by richard

    Just needs to design the socket too.

  • Comment Link Ian Bell Wednesday, 23 September 2015 15:00 posted by Ian Bell

    This is not an improvement on BS1363. The 3-in-1 appears to have unshuttered sockets on the back, for a start.

    There's a reason electrical fittings are designed by engineers, not artists. No consideration at all seems to have been given to safety, only aesthetics. This won't meet standards, and shouldn't be allowed to be sold.

  • Comment Link Simon Wednesday, 23 September 2015 14:27 posted by Simon

    Fantastic design! Only downside is that it looks like you can't put this plug on existing devices yourself (factory-fitted only?) though I hope I'm wrong.

  • Comment Link Pete Wednesday, 23 September 2015 12:19 posted by Pete

    Unfortunately it looks like the pins are the wrong length. There should be about 5mm difference.

    Does it conform with BS 1363?

  • Comment Link Simon widdison Wednesday, 23 September 2015 12:18 posted by Simon widdison

    Where does the BS1362 fuse go?

  • Comment Link Gavin Alexander Wednesday, 23 September 2015 11:11 posted by Gavin Alexander

    I'll buy that! Top marks.


Leave a comment

Click to show