For her graduate work at the Royal College of Art, Dani Clode created a wearable third thumb that can help its user carry more objects, squeeze lemons or play complex chords on the guitar.
The Third Thumb is a motorised, controllable extra digit, designed for anyone who wants to extend their natural abilities.
A student of the school’s product design masters, Clode created the device as a way to challenge conventional ideas about prosthetics – usually thought of as devices only for people with disabilities.
“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 Third Thumb is controlled by the movement of the wearer’s feet, via pressure sensors embedded in their shoes.
Clode chose this method of control to exploit existing connections between our hands and feet, which we regularly employ together when driving a car, operating a sewing machine or playing a piano.
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