Want Another Thumb? Easy!
Written by Lucy Black   
Wednesday, 29 December 2021

Too Good To Miss: This report from May 2021 is typical of the way that robotic technology can do more than just destroy the world. The opposable thumb is supposed to be what made us great, so what could an extra thumb do for us?

Self improvement is all the rage so what could be more important than new that it is easy to add an extra thumb. Yes, three thumbs not just the two that you already have. The idea is the brain child of Dani Clodi who started out at the Royal College of Art and then joined the Cognitive Neuroscience Group at UCL (University College London). The extra thumb is worn on the other side of the hand, making it a thumb-opposable opossable thumb.:

thumb1

The interesting thing, if you don't already find the idea interesting, is that as a group of volunteers used the thumb they slowly began to regard it as a part of their bodies. The thumb was controlled via the big toe. So flexing your big toe flexed the thumb and after a while the brain started to map the toe movements to the new thumb in a natural way. MRI scans reveal that the brain had adapted to the new limb by assigning it an area in the sensor motor cortex. The brain seems to be plastic enough to adapt to a change in body configuration.

But - what use is it?

Take a look a the video:

Robotic hand augmentation drives changes to neural body representation from Dani Clode on Vimeo.

All I can say is that if you don't want one after seeing the video you have no bodily ambition....

 

 

 

thumb2

 

More Information

The Third Thumb Project

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 29 December 2021 )