This woman just created a robotic third thumb and it’s a total gamechanger

She controls the thumb using pressure sensors in her feet.

by | Published on 4th Sep 2023

If you could have an extra body part, what would it be?

An augmentation designer has chosen a third thumb.

Sounds mad – and it looks it too – but it turns out an extra thumb would be pretty useful.

READ MORE! ‘World’s most advanced humanoid robot’ reveals what life will look like in 100 years

Designer Dani Clode developed a device called the ‘Third Thumb’ as part of a project at the Royal College of Art.

Clode wears the 3D-printed device on the side of the hand opposite her actual thumb near the pinky finger.

She then controls it with pressure sensors attached to her feet on the underside of the big toes.

Connected wirelessly, both toe sensors control different movements of the Third Thumb by immediately responding to subtle changes of pressure from the wearer.

To test the Third Thumb’s capability, a team from University College London were trained to use the device.

This involved focusing on tasks that helped increase the cooperation between their hand and the Third Thumb, such as picking up multiple balls or wine glasses with one hand.

They learned the basics of using the device very quickly, while the training enabled them to successfully improve their motor control, dexterity and hand-thumb coordination.

Participants were even able to use the device when distracted – building a wooden block tower while solving math problems – or while blindfolded.

So, it felt natural super quickly.

The project challenges the conventional idea of prosthetics by considering them as extensions rather than mere replacements.

A video posted to TikTok of the Third Thumb in action shows not everyone’s convinced, though.

“If we were meant to have six fingers, we would’ve been born with six fingers,” one user said.

“We’ve been fine without one for centuries. Why now?” another asked.

“People today don’t even know how to use their brain. What will they do with an extra finger?” another posted.

Some social media users suggested other body parts that would be more useful, like another pair or arms of even a tail.

Perhaps they’re projects for Clode to consider next.



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Adam Gray is an experienced motoring journalist and content creator based in the United Kingdom. Using his media accreditation with motor manufacturers’ press offices, Adam test drives the latest cars and attends new vehicle press launches, producing written reviews and news pieces for Before joining the Supercar Blondie team, Adam was Motoring Editor for Portfolio North magazine, North East Motoring Editor at Reach plc, and provided motoring content on a freelance basis to several lifestyle and business publications in the North of England. When he’s not behind the wheel of the latest car, Adam can be found at his local rink playing ice hockey or supporting his beloved Middlesbrough FC.

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