At least one in their lives — or several times a day — everyone has wished they had a third hand to help them with a given task. Adding a mechanical extra arm to one’s outfit is a big step, so it might make sense to smart small, and first add an extra thumb to your hand.
This is not a prosthetic in the traditional sense, but a wearable human augmentation envisioned by [Dani Clode], a master’s student at London’s Royal College of Art. The thumb is 3D-printed out of Ninjaflex and mounted to a printed brace which slides over the hand. One servo rotates the thumb, and a second pulls it closed using a bowden cable system — not unlike that of a bicycle brake. Control of the thumb is achieved by pressure sensors in the wearer’s shoes, linked via Bluetooth to a wristband hosting the servos and the electronics. We already use our hands and feet in conjunction, so why not capitalize on this intuitive link?
The main thrust of this project is to expand human ability and expression: in the same way that a pair of glasses can express individual character while their capacity as a medical device takes a secondary role, [Clode] hopes that her third thumb will have an aesthetic component alongside broadening our capacity as humans. This isn’t to say that traditional prosthetics cannot be works of art in and of themselves.
[Thanks for the tip, Sophi!]
58 thoughts on “Three Thumbs, Way, Way Up!”
Watch out the Catholic church might burn her as a witch for defying Gods design or some such thing IDK, This is cool if only a neural interface controller were attached.
Just remember what happened to Doctor Otto Octavius when his augments took charge.
Always a danger when you incorporate too much phlebotinum in your designs.
Went to Catholic school for 12 years, never once was told evolution wasn’t real or augmenting human abilities (as virtually all forms of technology do) was “wrong.” Nor did I once meet a Catholic who did. But nice of you to make ignorant, unfair generalizations. Very progressive.
I went to a Catholic school, though the principle went to Gaol and died their he used to lock kids in cupboards for punishment and punch them, such a tolerant place much like the internet.
It sounds like you are part of the minority in your experiences. I mean according to history those generalizations are 100% correct, Galileo was put under house arrest for 9 years (he was put under house arrest for life but died 9 years after the trial) for coming up with the theory that the sun was actually the center of our solar system instead of the earth,
These generalizations could be true 500 year ago, now the church don’t have the power and/or the will to do that
He didn’t come up with that theory. About half of the scientists of the time were of the heliocentric mindset.
Those generalizations are incorrect, historical or otherwise. Climate change denial, evolution denial etc. are almost completely protestant ideas that Catholic church had nothing to do with.
On the other hand:
Gregor Mendel – Father of Genetics and discoverer of heredity – Catholic monk
George Lemaitre – Original proponent of Big Bang theory – Catholic priest
Nicolaus Copernicus – No need for introduction – Catholic
William Occam/Blaise Pascal/Pierre de Fermat/René Descartes – Take a guess.
As for Galileo, he was punished for insulting the Pope rather than for his (at the time unproven) hypothesis.
That sounds more like something a fringe born-again revisionist protestant would do. Catholics are generally pro science and pro progress except when it comes to contraceptives and abortion.
They didn’t burn witches.
They burnt anyone that opposed them during certain periods in history some of it related to science which they believed would undermine their power and gold collection abilities mostly their hoarding of other peoples wealth.
As everyone else did in the same periods.
None of those people burned were witches.
Lay off the hate speech.
Protestants burned as many witches as Catholics. Also, evolution deniers are protestants.
That’s quiet neat.
Neural control would be another step but that whole field I think still needs a bit of work.
We do often look at prosthetics as replacing a missing limb but seldom do e see it as augmentation but it really is just like another tool to perform a job.
And here I am playing Deus Ex: Mankind Divided.
If this could mirror the actions of the real thumb, it might allow one to carry more grocery bags in each hand!
Make hitchhiking more efficient.
Eh? I carry grocery bags with my fingers
The entire reason I’m currently finishing my EE degree and trying to work in robotic prosthetics is because I want a third arm.
double thumbs is totally also on my list too.
This is a fucking great stuff…
Would this allow you to pick both nostrils at the same time?
Not as is, but if it could be converted to a second pinky I think we’d really be on to something.
Is it only me that immediately thought of Doc Octopus from Spiderman?
When can I have an extra pair of arms?
Ahh the “A” in STEAM rears it’s ugly head. Cool article thanks James.
So it stands for Augmentation? Learned something new today! ;)
I’m going to use that…
The “A” stands for “Augmentation”.
Hey at least it’s not a fidget spinner.
Combine it with one and we’ll have our newest version of “The most useless machine”.
Might add new meaning to the phrase “Thumbing a ride”…
Since a crash at sky when I was young, I can no more use my thumbs correctly … I though about reinforcing them with 3D printed parts … but this genius idea could be the clue … I gonna buy some flexible filament and try to make myself two new working / replaceable thumbs !
Thanks HaD for pointing this ;)
Watch out for Inigo Montoya, he’s been asking everyone he meets if they’ve seen the six-fingered man.
As long as it is not on your left hand, you are fine.
The Dozenal Societies will finally get the respect that has eluded them for over 70 years. I’ll bet you didn’t realize they managed to sneak ↊ and ↋ into Unicode a couple years ago. Before you know it they’ll be rewriting textbooks and teaching Duodecimal in schools.
Now, get off my lawn!
Three months till Halloween. *hint hint*
Great addition to your alien suit.
A buddy of mine growing up, who happened to be born on Halloween, was born with 6 fingers.
If this becomes the new trend he is going to be pissed that they removed his extra digit when he was a baby!
Agreed, pretty cool. One nit: it’s not really a 3rd thumb. It’s more like a 9th non-thumb finger. The magic of the thumb is that it can act in opposition to the other fingers. This doesn’t, as far as I can tell from watching the video and doing no further research. But “3rd thumb” is a great name, nonetheless.
Well “dew claw” doesn’t work either, even though the position is comparable.
“Do claw” would have worked. :)
Useless hack is useless, but it is a hack.
Next, transfer a sense of touch from the thumb to the side of the hand.
Always wondered why we haven’t augmented limbs yet!
I’ve wanted extra thumbs since reading James Hogan’s “Giants” series.
A “gripping hand”? Reminds me of the ‘moties’ in Jerry Pournelle’s “The Mote in God’s Eye”.
Very fine book ! Some humans remember me to the moties… and not exactly the one that were dextrous with tools…
So what will this do to the expression “I’m all thumbs”?
How long till the “rule 34” application shows up?
a few possible applications
-hitting Ctrl without getting “emacs pinky”
-supporting my the bottom of oversized smartphone instead of using my pinky
-MGS CQC with knife and pistol held together
One of their better episodes:
The Outer Limits ( 1963-65 ) S01E05 – The Sixth Finger
Reminds me of http://hackaday.com/2014/07/21/what-could-you-do-with-7-fingers/
Want to see prosthetics that are more than simply functional? Look up Viktoria Modesta. Her lower left leg was damaged when she was born in 1987. In 2007 she had it amputated so she could get around better with prosthetic legs.
She was in the second episode of the 3rd season of “Killjoys”. Some of her music was used in the episode as were many of her fancy prosthetic legs.
Many other amputees and people with missing or deformed limbs appeared in the episode as “hackmods”. If you want to have a cyborg that’s had limbs and other parts replaced with robot parts, it’s much easier if the actor actually is missing body parts. The bartender who is missing parts of both arms and looks like his face was partly burned off really is missing parts of both arms and got his face badly burned.
Thanks for that information. While watching the KillJoys episode I was assuming it is all just special effects and makeup/costume. The bartenders face looks really badly distorted and I was wondering why they went with that look in the first place.
Love it, very amusing without being actually ridiculous like so many attempts these days with coming up with new stuff, and yet potentially handy. Pardon the pun.
Two opposable thumbs up for the impending takeover of our planet by the apes.
Fair enough, this just seals the total thumbination :)
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