The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'industrial design'
Some good news for people (well, Britons mostly) who like good design. You may remember Min-Kyu Choi's prototype of a folding electric mains plug compatible with both Britain's ruggedly oversized power sockets and its conservative electrical safety standards, which briefly made the news back in 2009:
Well, after some two and a half years, Choi's design (with some modifications) is finally making it onto the market, at least for certain values of "making it" and "market". Known as The Mu, the plug will be available as a folding USB charger, which will be sold for £25 at the Design Museum in London (i.e., this is currently for design enthusiasts only). As for being able to charge your ultra-light laptop with a plug that doesn't look anachronistic next to it, that's still some way off.
Design innovation of the day: German industrial designer Cornelius Comanns has designed an ultra-compact and rather funky-looking one-person camping vehicle based on the Piaggio APE cargo scooter (for those unfamiliar with small Italian motor vehicles, that's a very small lorry/ute based on a motorscooter; essentially the Vespa's less frivolous big brother). He calls it the Bufalino:
It looks like it'd be great to go on holiday in, but given its size, it may be a rather solitary holiday. Perhaps this needs a Unhappy Hipsters caption?
Industrial design of the day: this folding UK mains plug:British mains plugs being huge and chunky (which may have been reassuring when attached to an electric kettle, but doesn't quite fit comfortably in a laptop sleeve, in the way that plugs in most of the rest of the world do.)
The narrator asserts that the plug fully meets Britain's exacting safety standards. If this is the case, and the wear and tear of folding and unfolding it doesn't cause it to explode in flames or electrocute the user, it is a neat piece of design.
(Britain's rather conservative specifications for plugs and sockets seem to have something to do with the fact that, in a fit of post-war thrift, British houses were wired for electricity using a single ring of copper cable, rather than a length for each socket (which would be safer and more expensive), which is the case with the rest of the world. I'm not an electrical engineer, though I wonder whether (a) adopting the European plug standards (you know, the slender round-pinned ones they use on the continent) would have been more hazardous with ring mains, or whether there was somewhat of an ideological nativism and/or imperial exceptionalism in Britain's decision to roll its own rather than surrender their wall outlets to Johnny Foreigner.)
Anyway, if this idea works and ends up being manufactured, I'd gladly buy a few.