Bio-hacking our way up the evolution ladder

“We’re all already cyborgs”, says Elon Musk. “You have more power than the president of the United States had 20 years ago,” he says, and he couldn’t be more right. The things we invent today push our abilities in ways that would make our ancestors think we’re gods. That smartphone has you talking with people hundreds of miles away, it can find you the answer to pretty much any question you have on your mind, if you think from the perspective of someone from a century back, we’ve come a long way into hacking human capabilities.

That’s what Dani Clode’s Third Thumb project aims at doing… Exploring and expanding the possibilities of what we can do with additional powers… in this case, an extra thumb. With the aim of adding to human’s possibilities, rather than replacing what’s lost, the prosthetic has the potential rapidly alter the way we live our lives. The thumb, 3D printed from a variant of Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) called Ninjaflex, sits right beside your little finger. It’s connected to a smart-bracelet that receives its commands via bluetooth from the wearer’s foot. Pressure sensors are placed on the soles of the feet and any force you apply with your foot is perceived as a signal by the bracelet i.e., if you press down with one foot, the thumb flexes inwards, grasping whatever you’re holding. Clode says that the learning curve is rather minimal and people get used to the controls pretty quick. Watch the video to see one rather confident candidate shred away at a guitar with a Third Thumb!

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. Me, I’m just happy if I can grip my smartphone and text in bed without having it slip and smack me flat on my face. *dumb smile*

Designer: Dani Clode