OneAdaptr‘s big insight from Lego is that you can snap together a surge protector in a way that works for you.
The Stack modular surge protector, invented by Michael Ma, made its debut this week at the 2016 International CES, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas. For me, The Stack was a reminder that innovation can be very simple, and that it often involves making things simpler for consumers.
Ma demonstrated how, using the four-prong connector he has developed, a series of electrical outlets can be easily snapped together. There are modules for circuit breakers, USB chargers, and even Ethernet adaptors — all color coded. The base system has three outlets, but you can add as many as you like.
“You often have one-size-fits-all,” Ma said. “You go to the store and buy one and then bring it home. You might use 20 percent of it.”
The device is expected to ship in March for $25, with each additional block priced at $10. OneAdaptr is based in Hong Kong, and Ma said he is currently looking for Western distributors. He pointed out that many of us are charging so many devices in our homes that we are connecting surge protectors to surge protectors. That’s dangerous, and can lead to overheating. The system he’s designed is extensible yet complies with safety standards. Development over the past couple of years was difficult, because of the challenges of creating an absolutely safe system.
“To get all of the necessary certifications, we needed four pins,” he said. “If you disconnect something by accident, it cuts off the system.”
Here’s a video that illustrates how it works.