Human augmentation: Study shows a third thumb would come in handy


Imagine having an extra pair of robotic arms to help you with everyday tasks, such as cooking, working, or even performing surgery. And a third thumb can change how the brian works for the better.

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The idea of “bionics” has been around for decades. And it may sound like science fiction, but with human augmentation, the future is here.

One example of this concept is a 3D-printed thumb created by designer Dani Clode, a colleague of Tamar Makin, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at Cambridge University. 

Clode’s thumb can be added to any hand and has the potential to assist with tasks such as holding plates for waiters or soldering for electrical engineers.

Makin envisions that other robotic body parts could be designed for specific workplace needs, such as an extra arm to help a builder hammer a nail while holding a joist in place or a surgeon who wants to control a camera while performing surgery.

The unique aspect of these robotic body parts is that they are not meant to replace the capabilities of the wearer’s original body, but rather augment and enhance them. The idea is to build on the existing capabilities of a person’s body and allow them to do more without taking away from their natural abilities.