The Third Thumb is a flexible 3D printed thumb extension for your hand developed by Dani Clode, designer in the Plasticity Lab (currently at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit (MRC CBU), previously at UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience). The Third Thumb is part of an exciting new neuroscientific research study.
The Third Thumb is worn on the hand, next to your little finger, and dynamically moves like a thumb using two motors. It is controlled by two pressure sensors fitted under your toes that communicate with the Third Thumb motors wirelessly. The foot control is inspired by products that help to develop the already strong collaborative relationship between our hands and our feet. For example, driving a car, using a sewing machine, or playing a piano.
Human augmentation allows us to ask whether and how the brain adapts to profound changes to our body, by having to learn to control and collaborate with a brand-new body part. In their studies, the team train people to use the Thumb over multiple days, using a combination of tasks that are fun and engaging whilst teaching the basics of using the Thumb. Their research so far has shown that people can quickly learn to control an augmentation device and use it for their benefit, without overthinking. They also reported that the Thumb felt natural to them – like another body part.
The Third Thumb will be showcased at the free Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2022 in London and is running between 6th – 10th July. The event is being held at 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London, SW1Y 5AG
More details about The Third thumb project and the team behind it can be found here:
Full details about the Royal Society Exhibition are available here: The Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition 2022
More details about Dani Clode Design can be found here: https://www.daniclodedesign.com/