RCA student radically improves the UK plug 01.07.09

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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



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  • Comment Link Alan Wednesday, 23 September 2015 10:32 posted by Alan

    Does it meet the requirements of BS 1363?

  • Comment Link Malc Dow Wednesday, 23 September 2015 09:21 posted by Malc Dow

    How do you rewire it and where is the fuse?

  • Comment Link Ben Grillet Wednesday, 23 September 2015 02:14 posted by Ben Grillet

    There have been quite a few attempts to update the British plug over the years, but this is an absolute masterpiece and could be one of the best design solutions of any kind, ever, period.
    The superb integration of problem-solving, multiple combined functionality, style, proportion and realisation is truly impressive.
    The result is an innovation with the true quality of an instant classic - once you've seen it, you can't imagine life without it!

  • Comment Link matthew Tuesday, 22 September 2015 15:52 posted by matthew

    but how does one change a fuze?

  • Comment Link Mike Chalkley Tuesday, 22 September 2015 14:15 posted by Mike Chalkley

    Great idea but misses out one vital point - the current design allows for gates to close the live and neutral holes int he socket until the earth pin is inserted giving vital security from children poking things into the holes.
    This adapter does not have that and it may be difficult to incorporate into any sockets.

  • Comment Link gee Tuesday, 22 September 2015 02:31 posted by gee

    this NEEDs to become the industry standard. I hope it doesn't run into any major obstacles!


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