Experiment Suggests Humans Can Be More Efficient With A Third Thumb

The experiment was conducted by placing a prosthetic thumb exactly in a position opposite to our real thumb, besides our little finger. The aftereffects of wearing it proved to be tremendous as it enabled a person to perform activities easily using just one hand like building a tower of blocks.

Reflecting on the mechanism of the discovery, the UCL team shared that the person using it operates it via pressure sensors attached to their feet, beneath their toes. Various bodily movements are then managed by the operator’s toe.

Creatively named ‘Third Thumb’, the discovery paved its way to being a part of an award-winning project at the Royal College of Art. The team revealed about the 3D printed device further by disclosing the aim of the innovation. They carried it intending to change people’s perspective regarding prosthetics.

They shared that people misconceive the idea of prosthetics as something that is fabricated for a person who has lost the functioning of some part of his or her body. The team presented the idea to look at prosthetics as an extension of the human body.

To share more knowledge on the invention, Professor Makin from UCL Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and principal author of the research conveyed that body enhancement is an evolving field that grows with the purpose of expanding our abilities physically. He felt that we are still a deficit of knowledge when it comes to comprehending how our brains can adapt to this.

He added, “By studying people using Dani’s smartly designed Third Thumb, we sought to answer key questions around whether the human brain can support an extra body part and how the technology might impact our brain.”

The research included twenty people using the device for a matter of five days. Later, they were invigorated to use the third thumb in their day-to-day activities and interpret the benefits it provided in versatile areas like domestic work, productive activities, etc.

The people involved in the study eventually figured out that simple activities could be carried out more easily just by adding an extra thumb to their hands. It boosted their confidence about using prosthetics as someone commented that now we can hold multiple wine glasses using one hand and that gave them the confidence to perform things complex than holding wine glasses easily without putting extra effort.

Appreciating the small discovery in their upcoming horizon of studies and researches, the team hoped that their invention of the third thumb would someday contribute to greater activities like enabling a surgeon to perform surgery without depending on the need of an assistant for extra handwork.