In an interview with Business Week in 1997 Steve jobs said that, “A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them”. We think that Dani Clode’s Third Thumb fits into that category pretty well.
Created by Clode for her Masters of Art project at London’s Royal College Art, this piece of hardware was inspired in part by the original definition of the word ‘prosthesis’. Commonly used to refer to a replacement of a limb or digit, the original meaning of ‘prosthesis’ is to ‘add-on’, not to replace. And what better thing to add than a thumb? 3D printed from a special plastic called ninjaflex, this 11th member of the party is capable of picking up large objects, hitting hard to reach chords on the guitar, and getting recently graduated masters students very good jobs. The extra digit is controlled by pressure sensors embedded in the wearer’s shoes that connect via Bluetooth to two wrist motors. Much like a bike brake, the motors pull on a wire, bending and gripping the thumb. For the moment, this remains just a masters thesis, but who knows – we wouldn’t be surprised to see something like this sold online in the near future.