Node, the power outlet of tomorrow

nodeplug.jpg

Plug is as many things as your circuit can amp up, and power them all on or off with two taps of your toe. I can think of one good reason this would be much safer as a power strip than a wall outlet, however.

node_sketch1.jpg

Making of the node [Metaphys]

About Rob Beschizza

Rob Beschizza is the Managing Editor of Boing Boing. He's @beschizza on Twitter and can be found on Facebook too. Email is dead, but you can try your luck at besc...@gmail.com
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25 Responses to Node, the power outlet of tomorrow

  1. Rob Beschizza says:

    It’s the lack of a ground pin that struck me (though it would also have to pinch the prongs well to hold them in place along the vertical rails). I suppose if the wall unit has a good ground fault interruptor in it, that’ll do!

    It would be great to see one of these in each room as a gadget charging station, connecting separately to each pair of prongs using some internal system and providing only the current it needs, and in the form it needs.

  2. roboton says:

    You engineers take all the fun out of everything.

  3. GeekMan says:

    Grounding? Polarized plugs? Gravity?

    Keep your creative design ideas to yourself!

  4. Rickyneck says:

    what about all the 3 prong cables, how is that gonna work, i need it for my 360 with natal to function.

  5. artbot says:

    Butter knife, meet “electrical outlet”.

    So many problems were solved decades ago, only for “creative” industrial designers to un-solve them just so they can solve them again.

  6. dculberson says:

    USB ports standard in every room!

  7. Darryl JH says:

    It would be too easy to insert a wide blade shaped item into the slot. The holes that electrical pins insert into on 110V sockets stop children from inserting miscellaneous flat bits of metal into the sockets.

    The design does not work for other countries. Also it’s usually not a good idea to cut the earth pin off a plug to get it to fit.

    But it looks cool and could be useful.

  8. Sijay says:

    I know the ungrounded open-strip outlets that this is reminding people of, but note that the sketch indicates “8 outlets” and appears to have two pairs of darker lines in each side of the bands running around the box. In the sketches on the site the designer even seems to have addressed polarity — the inner track holds the narrow hot slots.

    Of course it seems to have changed between the sketch and the mockup, because the photos show plugs inserted in the middle of each side, which would indicate continuous open contacts and be as stupid as everyone is asserting.

  9. Richard F. Rebel says:

    What about grounded plugs?

    Also this isn’t really a new idea, they make power strips that work like this since I was a kid. They just don’t bend around into a rounded square.

    When plugs are pulled a certain way you can have the prongs touch each other inside the socket. I think this is probably not healthy for the items that are on the other ends of the plug.

  10. remmelt says:

    Looks like it would be pretty easy to grab the sides of the plug while it’s still half plugged in.

    You know, that would solve the problem of people buying these pretty quickly.

    Darwin FTW

  11. Bloodboiler says:

    God dam I hate “designer” “concepts”.

    I’m not an electrician, but power outlets are supposed to be physically sturdy for obvious safety reasons and able to create good electrical connection. Then there are the usability requirements that outlet and plug should look like they belong together and making a wrong connection must be made impossible.

    This outlet doesn’t look like it couldn’t hold a single wall-wart properly, let alone create solid connections. It has no clear affordances for connecting, but allows user to make a wrong connection (both prongs in the same groove). Finally, it looks like a light switch and even works like a button. Guess what people will think it is.

    Only good thing about it is that it has no chance of passing any kind of electrical safety review and will not be installed anywhere.

  12. Bob says:

    i swear i had a dream about this a month ago. Though my computer’s charger uses a ground pin, i can’t think of anything else (hard drive, phone, cameras, powertools etc.) that require them– and even my computer doesn’t NEED it. If you’re using something so heavy duty that it needs a ground pin ( table saw? welder? air conditioner?), should it really be in a strip anyway? As for safety issues, it looks like it wouldn’t cause more problems than any other outlet. just keep the kids away from it like you would any other potential hazard.

  13. Bucket says:

    I can’t think of the last time I had something that didn’t have a ground pin.

    Does this come with a hacksaw to cut them off?

  14. ernest hoecker says:

    I have an idea for future switches outlets and more but no one can visualize what i am talking about…I already see the final product in my head. if you don’t email me I will never share the idea with any one else again.They all think i,m dumb!!!
    when i was eight i saw that my dad used a radio telephone from his boat to call home. so I asked him why don’t we all have radio telephones, he hit me in the head and said “what are you thnking,they aren’t going to put up antenna towers all over the place”. well thats exactlly what they did for cell phones.

    I have more ideas for houses, carsand, much more!

  15. Clay says:

    @3 DCulberson

    Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about! A few years ago I sketched out an idea for a hybrid AC socket / +12V DC Molex connector wall receptacle, but it would have needed manufactuers to start using the connector for something other than hard drives. Power-only USB sounds much better.

  16. killdozer says:

    This is actually the power outlet of the past. When my parents moved into their house in 1996 there were 2 outlets like this one in the basement. Based on how yellow the plastic got with age, and the decor of the rest of the house, I’d guess they’re from the 70′s or early 80′s (if not older.) They held plugs pretty well if the plugs weren’t wallwarts.

  17. jose says:

    Uh, this is asinine. It’s been designed to look pretty, sacrificing safety and practicality… and guess what? As soon as you plug in a few devices it’ll be as ugly as a regular power strip. Fail.

  18. artbot says:

    I like that the sketch has the words “warning sign” called out for the middle of the unit. Would “Not to be used as an electrical outlet” be an appropriate warning?

  19. We had one of these as well, from back in the 70s – a strip that was used in the garage. It’s pretty, but certainly not original.

  20. b\oodboi\er says:

    it’s japanese. not for the american market.

  21. Anonymous says:

    #8:

    allows user to make a wrong connection (both prongs in the same groove).

    I’m trying to figure out how that might work, but I’m afraid my head is going to asplode.

  22. Rene says:

    Nice try, really nice.
    Unfortunately this will never Pass the Safety Standards in Europe.
    This construction gives end users easy access to live parts, thus electrical shock.

  23. Nick says:

    Nice design but horrible engineering. There are so many things hidden in the design of a standard plug, a few of which are mentioned above. A serious innovator would need to first study all those and ONLY THEN design something better that does not suffer from problems long solved. “Those that ignore the lessons from history will relearn them the hard way” -or something like that. Anyway, safety first, and I wouldn’t trust this one to the hands of an 8 year old.

  24. Clay says:

    This is a delightfully elegant solution, but it casts the old 100V AC system in even sharper relief. It might be ideal, however, for a household low-voltage circuit standard.

    Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to plug all your chargers and things around something like this without the wall warts? We’d just need a standardized low-profile plug.

  25. Trejkaz says:

    Why settle with power-only USB? Why not USB which goes to some computer somewhere as well, so you can plug in a camera and then route that to a computer in a completely different place?

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