THE THIRD THUMB PROJECT: By Dani Clode.

The Third Thumb investigates the relationship between the body and prosthetic technology in new ways. It is part tool, part experience, and part self-expression; a model by which we can better understand human response to artificial extensions. It explores the definition of 'ability’.

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 evolve prosthetics as extensions of the body.

The human thumb has amazing dynamic movement, The Third Thumb replicates these movements by using two motors pulling against the natural tension of a flexible 3d printed material. The motors are controlled by two pressure sensors retrofitted into your shoes, under your toes, and communicate to the thumb via Bluetooth connection. The foot control is inspired by products that help to develop the already strong connection between our hands and our feet. For example driving a car, using a sewing machine, or playing a piano.

The Third Thumb aims to challenge the perception of prosthetics. By extending the body the inventor sees 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.

"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."

Dani Clode. Designer

The third thumb could just be one of those products that dramatically change the world as we know it, making us grip better, text better, work better, and probably evolving communications to a massive extent, from gestures to sign language.                                            

Design, TechnologyWill Messiha