Unless you’re one of the lucky few with massive hands, smartphones these days are just way too large for comfortable use.
Apart from scrolling and a little light browsing, literally everything I do on any of my devices requires two hands. I think back on one-handed texting as a simpler, easier time.
But never would I have thought that there was a solution to this issue, apart from the mediating factor of a slimmer form factor introduced by Samsung and LG with the S8 and G6.
Never, that is, until I laid eyes upon The Third Thumb, a graduate project by Dani Clode of the Royal College of Art in London. The Third Thumb is exactly what it sounds like — a prosthetic motorized digit that attaches to the other side of your hand, giving you a total of three thumbs.
The Third Thumb, which connects to a bracelet that contains servos, is controlled via Bluetooth sensors in the soles of the wearer’s shoes, using the connection between hands and feet that people already employ when driving or using a sewing machine.
In Clode’s project video, the extra thumb is seen employed in all sorts of activities, from playing guitar to lemon squeezing but the most intriguing, at least to me, was the portion which showed a person holding a tablet securely in one hand — real thumb tucked around its edge — while the prosthetic thumb swiped across the screen.
Clode says her invention aims to challenge people’s ideas about prosthetics.
“The origin of the word ‘prosthesis’ meant ‘to add, put onto’, so not to fix or replace, but to extend,” said Clode in an interview with Dezeen. “The Third Thumb is inspired by this word origin, exploring human augmentation and aiming to reframe prosthetics as extensions of the body.”
For now, this prototype is just that — a prototype. But considering the massive press interest in Clode’s design, perhaps we’ll see something hit the market sooner than later.
Could this be the hot new smartphone accessory? I think so. At the very least, Clode’s gadget brings up some very interesting points about the potential of prosthetics to add ability to a person’s body and the use of foot sensors in conjunction with gadgets attached or held in the hand.
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