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University graduate creates Third Thumb

A university graduate has created a controllable Third Thumb.

Dani Clode, a graduate from the Royal College of Art in London has created a prosthetic thumb, which can be attached to the hand and controlled by the foot to give a person the ability to carry more things or play tricky chords on the guitar.

Whilst at university, Dani studied a Masters in Product Design and created the device to dismiss the conventional idea that a prosthetic was to replace rather than add on.

A statement posted to her website reads: "The origin of the word prosthesis meant "to add, put onto"; so not to fix or replace, but to extend. 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. It instigates necessary conversation about the definition of 'ability'.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 can be controlled by the foot, with pressure sensors embedded in the person's shoe. A bluetooth device is placed on the shoe and in the watch-style strap. There is also a motor built into the strap that helps to power the Third Thumb.

The prosthetic is made out a flexible plastic filament known as Ninjaflex, which is 3D-printed, whilst the cover is made out a harder resin that is also 3D-printed. A cable system, which Clode likens to a bike brake, connects the motor to the prosthetic.

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