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Scientists have developed a "third thumb" that can change human abilities

Anna BoklajukNews
Cambridge researchers have developed a controllable prosthesis of an additional thumb. Source: scitechdaily.com

Researchers from Cambridge have demonstrated that people can quickly learn to control an extra thumb prosthesis, known as a "third thumb," and use it effectively to grasp and handle objects. The study emphasizes the importance of inclusive design to ensure that technology benefits everyone.

The team tested the robotic device on a variety of participants. According to the scientists, it is important that new technologies are inclusive and can work for everyone, ScitechDaily writes.

Scientists have developed a ''third thumb'' that can change human abilities

An emerging area of future technology is motor augmentation – the use of motorized wearable devices, such as exoskeletons or additional robotic body parts, to develop our motor capabilities beyond current biological limitations. While such devices can improve the quality of life for healthy people who want to increase their productivity, the same technologies can also provide people with disabilities with new ways to interact with their environment.

"Technology is changing our very definition of what it means to be human, as machines increasingly become part of our daily lives and even parts of our minds and bodies. These technologies open up exciting new possibilities that can benefit society, but it's important that we consider how they can help all people equally," says Tamar Makin, Professor in the Cognitive and Brain Sciences Unit at the Medical Research Council, University of Cambridge.

Scientists have developed a ''third thumb'' that can change human abilities

The Third Thumb, an additional robotic thumb, aims to increase the user's range of motion, improve their grasping ability, and extend their hand-holding ability. This allows the user to perform tasks that may otherwise be difficult or impossible to perform with one hand or to perform complex tasks with multiple hands without coordinating with other people.

Development and functionality of the third thumb

The third thumb is worn on the opposite side of the palm from the biological thumb and is controlled by a pressure sensor placed under each thumb or foot. The pressure of the right foot pulls the thumb across the hand, and the pressure of the left foot pulls the thumb up toward the fingers. The degree of movement of the thumb is proportional to the applied pressure, and the release of pressure returns it to its original position.

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