Third Thumb: an opposable prosthetic enhancement

Designer Dani Clode's Third Thumb is a 3D printed robotic prosthetic thumb that goes on the pinky side of your hand, created a motorized, opposable additional thumb that you can use to play the guitar, pick up objects, or crack an egg.

Clode proposes that her thumb can be styled as a piece of jewelry or as a tool, depending on the materials used and the system's programming.

The working prototype is the base model for the design. The project includes two potential aesthetic territories for the Third Thumb. The first is a tool aesthetic with an electronic element, inspired visually by a cross between a watch, a power tool and a fitness tracker. As a functional piece, this Tool Third Thumb would be 3d printed in a multi-shore 3d print, ranging from a soft flexible print of the thumb, to a more rigid shore towards structural points needed on the hand. The second aesthetic exploration is a kinetic jewellery Third Thumb inspired by another form of body modification expression, tattoo. The design is created with form lines from the working model, and is functional, but purely aesthetic. It is a mix of two types of 3d printed materials, the main body structure is a rigid 3d printed black formlabs resin, and the connecting lines on the joins are flexible, recreating the movement of the thumb.

The Third Thumb aims to challenge the perception of prosthetics. By extending the body I see it creating a similar trajectory for prosthetics as glasses or plastic surgery. Creating a shift from medical device to positive body image statement. Success is widespread social engagement with The Third Thumb, from a jewellery designer, to a falcon handler, to a tattoo artist, to a toddler, the more people who experience it, the better, framing it in different functions and aesthetics. The current Third Thumb design as a starting base for a lot of future adaption of aesthetic. The value of the Third Thumb is to create a catalyst for society to consider human extension, framed in an approachable, accessible design. It is a tool, an experience, and a form of self-expression. When we start to extend our abilities, and when we reframe prosthetics as extensions, then we start to shift the focus from ‘fixing’ disability, to extending ability.

The Third Thumb Project [Danielle Clode] (via JWZ)