Over the past few years, 3D printing has become more affordable and accessible. After all, it's a perfect tool that allows us to think outside the box and create things we otherwise never could. While we have seen firms in the past making affordable prosthetics that help people in need, a student at the Royal College of Art has created a wearable that can help its user achieve more by extending their capabilities.
As part of her graduate work, Dani Clode has created a wearable prosthetic that works like a normal digit. The project was birthed as a means to challenge the norms of what we think when it comes to prosthetics. Rather than have it be a replacement for a missing part of the body, why not have it be an additional component. As you can see from the video, the Third Thumb is capable of performing actions such as picking up blocks and even be used to play a chord on a guitar.
The device is created from a flexible 3D-printed material called Ninjaflex, and inside the digit there is a cable system that is connected to pressure sensors in the user's shoes. There are two motors that allow it to emulate movements like a thumb. This is an ambitious project that could bring about a new way about how prosthetics can be used in the future. Although it can no longer be seen on display at the Royal College of Art exhibition - that ran from June 24 to July 2 - the project can be seen in full motion in the video that has been posted online.