Down the plug hole…

I know its not normal to get excited about plug sockets, three pin plugs, and gang plugs, but this little gismo really impressed me.

I have often wondered why the British use the traditional three pin plug, or for all you pedants out there, the G type BS 1363 (British 13 A/230-240 V 50 Hz grounded and fused).

Not only is it ugly, clunky, and an outdated 1940’s design, but like buttered toast it always lands wrong side up, eagerly awaiting the soft underbelly of the soles of your feet while you wander about trying not to trip over the blasted thing. When you put your laptop in your backpack to cycle home they also always end up digging into your back, or scratching the polished aluminium casing of your prized electronic hardware.

You get the picture; I am not a fan, and I bet now you have read this, you too are wondering why we bother… I guess its just that they so ubiquitous there is a certain lethargy to change the design. ( it is a sad fact that they are used not only in the United Kingdom, but also in Pakistan, Ireland, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Yemen, Oman, Jordan, Cyprus, Malta, Gibraltar, Botswana, Ghana, Hong Kong, Macau, Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Nigeria, Mauritius, Iraq, Kuwait, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. So there all you continentals and Americans sporting smug grins.) If it aint broke, dont fix it.

However a young designer called Min-Kyu Choi has shown off a brilliant new replacement option at The Royal College of Art‘s graduate show that opened this week. His neat, and market-ready plug that folds down to the width of an Apple MacBook Air. 

Anna Bates of IconEye Magazine notes, “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.” Read her review here.

I love how this chap has taken to task the most obvious poor link in the chain of elegant design; while manufacturers spend millions designing your phone, computer, laptop, hand held device, and almost every electronic piece of hardware, none has had the vision or realisation to tackle the ugly grey lump at the end of the the cable. Hats off to Choi!

Right, I’m off to get a life now.



Filed under Technology

2 responses to “Down the plug hole…

  1. Thing is, how easy it is to rewire/change the fuse?

    • Mark mulroney

      I agree entirely about the British plug.
      It was a good design once upon a time, but ridiculously over-engineered for today’s numerous low power mains powered devices, and an enormous footprint.
      The Australian plug is not bad, Small footprint, light, polarised, unlikely to be stood on or scratch your precious laptop

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