Gallery: Smart Folding Plug Wins 2010 Brit Insurance Design Award

 

Min Kyu Choi recently took home the top prize in this year’s Brit Insurance Design Awards with his smartly designed, material efficient, “Folding Plug.” The elegant and simple design features the necessary 3 prongs, but with way less material. When folded up, the plug is less than 1 cm thick — much thinner even than Apple’s innovative square plug.

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  1. socketman March 30, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I am an electrical engineer. It is often not realized that one of the reasons the BS 1363 plug and socket were introduced in 1947 was to reduce the number of child deaths caused by playing with sockets. In this it succeeded brilliantly, which is why it is now recognized as the safest system in the world.

    Mr Choi’s plug seems to ignore at least two of the essential safety features required by BS 1363, according to his company video on YouTube the fuse access is from the side of the plug opposite the pins, thus it fails to meet the requirement that “It shall be impossible to replace the fuse link in a plug unless the plug is completely withdrawn from the socket-outlet.”

    From the demonstration in the BBC interview it is quite clear that there is no interlock between rotating the pins into the using position, and folding out the two sides, thus there is nothing to stop the plug being inserted with sides still folded. To ensure safety BS 1363 requires that there be at least 9.5mm from any part of the pins to the periphery of the plug, the minimum width of the plug is therefore the thickness of the pin (4mm) plus 2x 9.5mm, that is 2.3 cm in total, clearly as the folding plug is claimed to be only 1 cm it cannot possibly meet the standard.

    The Plugs and Sockets etc. (Safety) Regulations 1994 make it illegal to supply plugs which do not meet BS 1363.

    The UK system of regulation will ensure that Mr Choi’s plug will not be sold here, but this raises an obvious question of why it is considered appropriate to honour the design of an illegal object? Did no one think of checking?

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