Dani Clode, a research associate in Professor Tamar Makin’s lab at the University of Cambridge’s Medical Research Council (MRC) Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, has developed the Third Thumb.
The new device (an extra robotic thumb) aims at boosting the wearer’s range of motion, improving their grasping abilities, and expands the hand’s carrying capacity.
The Third Thumb also enables the user to carry out intricate multi-handed operations without requiring assistance from others, as well as jobs that would normally be difficult or impossible to finish with one hand.
According to the inventor, given the diversity and complexity of bodies, it’s crucial that the design stage of wearable technology is as inclusive as possible.
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Dani said: “Augmentation is about designing a new relationship with technology—creating something that extends beyond being merely a tool to becoming an extension of the body itself. Given the diversity of bodies, it’s crucial that the design stage of wearable technology is as inclusive as possible. It’s equally important that these devices are accessible and functional for a wide range of users. Additionally, they should be easy for people to learn and use quickly.”
While reacting to the new invention, Professor Tamar said: “Technology is changing our very definition of what it means to be human, with machines increasingly becoming a part of our everyday lives, and even our minds and bodies.
“These technologies open up exciting new opportunities that can benefit society, but it’s vital that we consider how they can help all people equally, especially marginalized communities who are often excluded from innovation research and development.
”To ensure everyone will have the opportunity to participate and benefit from these exciting advances, we need to explicitly integrate and measure inclusivity during the earliest possible stages of the research and development process.”

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