The Robotic Thumb Designed to Help You Enhance Productivity at Work

Nearly 600 members of the public tested the device, with just four unable to use it at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in 2022.

Roselyne Min at Euronews: Scientists have successfully developed a new, controllable prosthetic extra thumb designed to enhance productivity.

Researchers at Cambridge University say the robotic thumb can help expand the capacity of the human hand, from carrying multiple beverage glasses and shuffling playing cards to performing surgery.

“We are also really excited about potential opportunities of using the thumb to enhance productivity in work settings, especially those that are relying on their hand’s manual dexterity in order to accomplish their work,” said Tamar Makin, a professor of cognitive neuroscience at the University of Cambridge.

“This can be anywhere between manual labourers that are trying to solder a complicated kit or even surgeons that have to negotiate between many instruments at the same time,” she added.

In 2022, the third thumb was showcased at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition where nearly 600 members of the public tested the device.

Just four were unable to use the robotic thumb either because it did not fit their hand securely, or because they were unable to control it with their feet.

The research team explains the pressure sensors developed specifically for the exhibition were not suitable for very lightweight children.

Tasks included picking up pegs from a pegboard and manipulating objects in a short time frame.

According to the results published in Science Robotics in May, “98 per cent of participants were able to successfully manipulate objects using the extra thumb during the first minute of use, with no significant influences of gender, handedness, or affinity for hobbies involving the hands”.

More here.  And check out the video at the link.