Dezeen Wire: the folding electrical plug designed by Royal College of Art graduate Min-Kyu Choi for his graduation in 2009 has gone into production and will be on sale in the UK from next week under the name Mu.
The bottom two pins, live and neutral, pivot 90 degrees to align with the earth pin and allow two flaps to close either side into a neat block that's just 14x55x60mm.
Min-Kyu Choi designed the plug while studying at the Royal College of Art after getting annoyed that his new lightweight laptop came with an enormous plug, the design of which hadn't changed since the 1970s, was heavy to carry and scratched the laptop's case.
The Mu is a USB adapter so can be used to charge phones, tablets and cameras but not laptops, although Min-Kyu Choi plans to develop a laptop charger to solve his original problem.
Here are some more details from Mu:
Award winning Folding Plug concept now a reality
Made in Mind has also revealed plans for a full range of Mu products for 2012.
The original Folding Plug concept was the brainchild of brilliant product designer and illustrator Min-Kyu Choi. Unveiled in 2009, the Folding Plug concept became a viral phenomenon winning the much coveted Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award in 2010.
Choi said of the design concept, “I was frustrated by the dimensions of the traditional plug, and felt that the existing unit which dates back to 1947, was out of touch and incongruous with modern design. My idea was very simple - redesign the plug to bring it in line with the clean look and feel of today’s technology; without compromising functionality.”
Now Min-Kyu and his business partner Matthew Judkins are set to launch a full range of products in 2012 to cater for universal smartphones, tablets and laptops through their company, Made in Mind.
The Mu USB Adapters are startlingly compact and hotly tipped as the next big thing to hit the world of functional design, folding flat for storage, reducing the overall plug size by over 70%.
The first product in the range, a USB adapter for universal smartphones, is available to purchase from today. The Mu USB Adapter has a simple, white, minimalist aesthetic; a pleasing contrast to the bulk of the British plug, which is one of the largest three-pin units in the world.
A tablet-optimised Mu USB Adapter and a Mu Power Cord for laptops will be revealed later in 2012.
In 2009, when Min-Kyu Choi found that his brand new laptop computer had been scratched by his plug in transit, he set out to find a solution to this commonly acknowledged problem.
“The UK plug was designed just after the Second World War, at a time when there were no portable electric products. It didn’t matter back then that plugs were bulky and clumsy. I made a list of what could be changed and what couldn’t. The second list was surprisingly short…” Min-Kyu Choi
Using the Folding Plug design concept as a starting point, Made in Mind applied commercial thinking to the solution, considering possible further applications and product scope, market and industry considerations, commercial manufacturing processes and certification.
Winner: Overall Design of the Year – Brit Insurance design of the Year (2010)
Winner: Product Design of the Year – Brit Insurance design of the Year (2010)
Winner: Institute of Engineering Designers – Alex Moulton Award (2010)
Finalist: Wallpaper Design Awards (2010)
Winner: International Design Excellence Award (2009)
Runner-up: James Dyson Award (2009)
Our leading PVT™ technology has allowed the development of a three-pin electrical plug with a pivot which enables the live and neutral pins to rotate. The PVT™ technology allows a standard UK plug to be reduced by over 70% in size, whilst still being operational in the open and folded positions.
Sign up for a daily roundup
of all our stories