The Third Thumb is a motorised, controllable extra digit, designed for anyone who wants to extend their natural abilities. A student of the school’s product design masters, Clode created the device as a way to challenge conventional ideas about prosthetics- usually thought of as devices only for people with disabilities. Clode is originally from New Zealand and completed her undergraduate degree at Victoria University in Wellington before moving to London to study at the RCA. The Third Thumb investigate the relationship between the body and prosthetic technology in new ways. It is part tool, part experience , and part self expression; a model by which we better understand human response to artificial extensions. It instigates necessary conversation about the definition of ability.
The orgin of the word ‘prosthesis’ meant ‘to add, put onto’, so not to fix or replace, but to extend. The Third Thumb is inspired by this word orging, exploring human augmentiaion and aimin to reframe prosthetics as extensions of the body. The Third Thumb aims to challange the perception of prostetics. By extending the body I see it creating a similar trajectory for prostehtics as glasses of plastic sugery. Creating a shift from medical device to positive body image statment. Sucess is widespredd social engagemnt with The Third Thumb, from a jewellery designer, to a falcon handler, to a tattoo artists, to a toddler , the more people who exprience it, the better, framing it in diffrent functions and aeshetics. To emulate the dynamic range of movement provided by our natural thumbs, Clode made the digit our of a 3D – printed flexible plastic filament called Ninjflex. Two morors pull the digit in various directions to make it bend a t its three hinges. A cover also 3D printed but from a more rigid resin, slips over the hand and wrist to hold the device in place. It is connected to the thumb through a cable system Clode describes being similar to a bike brake. She envisages using 3D printed in future iterations of the design, as it allows for the design to be cusomised to fit diffrent hand sizes. DANI CLODE DESIGN