Excuse me, my pinky is ringing

We get a lot of email challenging us to hack things. Sometimes we ignore them, other times we send some words of encouragement. But this time around we thought [Tait] had really come up with a great hack; to build a Bluetooth handset into his prosthetic finger. He hasn’t done much hacking in the past and was wondering if we could put out a challenge to our readers to make this happen. After a bit of back-and-forth brainstorming he decided to take on the challenge himself and was met with great success.

Like other Bluetooth handset hacks [Tait] started with a simple ear-mounted module. He extended the volume button with a piece of plastic and placed it under the battery. A couple of wooden matchsticks space the battery just enough so that it can be squeezed to adjust the volume level. He then extended the speaker with some wire. Next, he used the Oogoo recipe from our previous post to mold a false-finger and a thumb-ring. The PCB and battery fit in the finger, which places the microphone near a hole in the pad of the plastic pinky. The thumb ring houses the speaker to finish the look. Don’t miss the photos [Tait] sent in after the break.

The Bluetooth module PCB:

The completed prototype can still be recharged:

And it fits like a glove:

Originally he told us this hack was above his skill level. Well congratulations… looks like your hacking skills just moved up a few notches!

Comments

  1. Spork says:

    Strange looking, but definitely has the classic spy feel to it. I like the matchstick concept and well the fact that it actually works as a phone.

  2. Eages says:

    How was there not inspector gadget reference in this article!? [Mike Szczys] I am disappoint. It is a superb, simple hack though.

  3. tnfreak says:

    any1 else think of inspector gadget when seeing this?

  4. Mystic Shadow says:

    Really?

  5. John C. Reid says:

    I was pretty bummed a week ago today because I chopped my pinky off at work – I am not joking. This make me feel a bit better. At least I have an idea as to what project I can take up next.

    Actually the skin grafts are not taking and I have to go in tomorrow to see what my options are as I also lost the skin on the inner side of my three middle fingers. I wonder if I can use this to my advantage? Maybe we could do away with the wire between the finger and the thumb? Hmmm . . .

  6. Hirudinea says:

    Should have built it into a leather glove, much cooler looking and handy for winter.

  7. zool says:

    needs to have a cap so you can pull it back then pull out the antenna
    or maybe you could add voice recognition and make it work automatically when you say “go go gadget phone”

  8. Tait says:

    great ideas.im open to all suggestions for when i make the pinkyphone3000! love the go go gadget …

  9. Anon says:

    @Hirudinea Handy…

    Hehehe

  10. tommy says:

    just don’t ask about the fax attachment.
    :-D

  11. whitecloud says:

    I think the skin coloured latex idea would be a good improvement.
    An idea i had was to have the wire connecting the main board to the speaker on a kind of retractable spool. Like the sort on some vacuum cleaners power cords, in miniature.

    this way depending on where you let that wire leave the pinky finger and join the ring, you could have the wire retract when not in use, and store the ring on the pinky finger.

    then when you get a call you take the ring from the pinky and put it on the thumb. And when not in use the wire isnt hanging out were in might get caught on something.

  12. Stephen Zuercher says:

    this instantly boosts you 10 years into the future. When people start getting “real” electronic implants, this could very well be on the list. Thanks for sharing! made me smile to see a real go go gadget existing.

  13. Jeditalian says:

    I want a head-implantable mp3 player, complete with subdermal microSD slot, powered by the force, or stray radiowaves or maybe a mini nuclear reactor. i am prepared to amputate a bit of my brain to make this happen. anybody??

  14. Jeditalian says:

    no speakers either. hardwired to the auditory cortex.

  15. whitecloud says:

    iv thought about this too, how do cochlear implants work? could you get something like that but rather then picking up outside sounds, it gets the sound from a little sound jack behind your ear.

  16. Neckbeard says:

    Go go gadget phone!

  17. cde says:

    He looks like a Bond Villain in the picture. Maybe an Agent of KAOS. Sigfried, is that you?

  18. echodelta says:

    Better to make it look like a bandage than a deformed bloated finger or a wiener. Or maybe make it as a stylish Borg part.
    A national advert from the mid 60’s that the alien thing down went. “Six finger six finger man o live, how did I ever get along with five”
    One held it in place with the base of the thumb and it could shoot some missile or light up.
    As to the ear-plant the current type let you hear about 20 tones no choice. With much training those tones with lip reading are a brave first step for those profoundly deaf. My aunt had one 20 some years ago. One could simply jack audio in in place of the mic but it would get the worst “compression” more than any mpee could ever do. Listening to mpee’s is like having instant hearing loss, continued exposure will cause real and permanent loss. There is a triple threat of earbuds, post MTV production values, and the damage done with the m-pee-3 process. Our ears and brain are built to the physics of pink noise, not the white noise delivered with the state of the art. The treble is orders of magnitude higher!

  19. PlastBox says:

    @whitecloud:

    No need to screw up your hearing, just go for bone conduction speakers. These things send vibrations into the inner ear through the knob of bone behind the ear, making the sound audible to you even in high-noise environments. Pretty neat..

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bone_conduction

  20. Jeditalian says:

    i do like the idea of making it blend more, even molding a realistic pinky around it and wearing it with a bandaid. bluetooth dongle internals are already sub-pinky size already. a glove would be best though, to house the speaker and battery comfortably

  21. Tait says:

    I thought about a glove but then I would have the Michael Jackson look. I am looking for a smaller Bluetooth device, but how would you make a dongle interpret incoming cell calls, and adding a mic, speaker, functions???

  22. Drake says:

    The picture needs to have a caption

    “This are serious business”

    Use the same technique to make buttons on your fingers that you press with your thumb. Result: keyboardless keyboard

  23. Chris says:

    To be honest, I prefer that it looks like something worn over a finger, rather than looking exactly like a finger.

    Don’t make it smaller or flesh colored. Don’t put a glove over it. Make it look like an obvious piece of technology, that fits over a finger but with a miraculously small profile. Paint it gloss black and stencil Nokia or iFinger on it or something.

    It’s bad enough people wear Bluetooth earpieces invisibly under their hair, and appear to be talking to themselves. Or they don’t bother to check that they’re not looking directly at someone else when they take a call and say “hello”, leaving the other person wondering if the phone user is talking to them.

    Seeing someone talk to what appears to be their finger would be even worse!

  24. Tait says:

    thats a good idea on putting ‘nokia or ifinger’ on it, thats an easy way of giving it a cool look.

  25. therian says:

    None of the doctors I asked agreed to cut my finger so I can put some electronics on its place

  26. bobdole says:

    It looks really nice from far away, but when you zoom in it really does just look like a blob.

    I think it would be a lot nicer if he molded an existing prosthesis to give it more of a finger shape, then added some food coloring to make it flesh toned.

    Still, a truly awesome hack. Makes me wish I were missing a digit.

  27. StefanL38 says:

    REALLY GREAT I LOVE IT. It’s soo coool !
    showing lot’s of self confidence about a handycap

    encourages handicaped people to make something special that will help them that’s really cool.
    The coolest thing is: you need to be handycaped to wear it like this.

    That’s a really great basic idea about prothetics

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