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Mechanical 3rd thumb looks ridiculous … but we want one

J-P Mauro - published on 07/18/17

What an entertaining artificial appendage!

Dani Clode, a grad student at London’s Royal College of Art (RCA), has invented a prosthetic third thumb. The additional digits rest on the far side of the palm and can increase grip effectiveness. As Clode explains to Dezeen, the project arose from the definition of prosthetics:

“The origin of the word ‘prosthesis’ meant ‘to add, put onto,’ so not to fix or replace, but to extend,” said Clode. “The Third Thumb is inspired by this word origin, exploring human augmentation and aiming to reframe prosthetics as extensions of the body. “It is part tool, part experience, and part self-expression,” she added. “It instigates necessary conversation about the definition of ‘ability.'”

The “extra” thumb is 3D printed, using flexible material for the thumb part while the hand clip is made of more rigid plastic. Since Clode seems more interested in addition than replacement, we are not certain if this technology will be adapted for people who have lost or were born without thumbs.

The project was featured during this year’s RCA graduate exhibition, which ran from 24 June to 2 July. The work impressive and looks like a fun toy — although it might hinder the ability to karate chop.

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