52 points by jermaustin1
5 days ago
Great, the Emacs people are going to have a field day with this.
The internet prize for today goes for you.....
She's been showing this off for years but hasn't released it as a product or open sourced it or anything. I messaged her a couple years ago on IG and asked if I could buy one and I think her reply was something like it would be available when she's ready. I think someone will have to copy it for it to be available to the masses.
Link to Dani Clode's website
As someone missing a thumb, I messaged her asking to buy one as well to try and see if it could be assistive. Never got a reply, so I emailed the researchers she worked with, and they said that she holds all rights to the design so they are unable to provide me even with plans to build my own, and I would have to get her permission/access to it.
Overall it leaves a really bad taste in my mouth. It's been like 7+ years since it was first advertised by her and still nothing but PR and no attempt to interact with anyone who might NEED one, let alone those who WANT one.
This is the kind of project that could be prototyped by a mechanical engineering student in a few weeks. If you want it really badly, just find a mech eng student who wants a summer job.
I'd pitch in if we crowdfund it
Might be worth having a chat with Ian Davis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YQ8dGOiDk8
I watched some of his other videos too and the articulation and grip strength is amazing. He's also modded a compound bow and a drill to use with his partially amputated hand and created a golf club for a man with 2 partially amputated arms. I've never seen anything like this.
It is not at all uncommon for researchers to be unwilling/unable to take their work beyond the research lab.
In the world of academia, it is citations and papers that academics want. You won't get extra citations just because you can buy it on amazon.
In fairness, that looks more like a research tool than a product in development… so not really aimed at mass production
This reminds me of a project someone did where they wore glasses that flipped everything upside down, and then separately left to right. Generally it took them about a week before their brain just interpreted everything correctly again, and it was like looking without the glasses. When they flipped it diagonally though it was three weeks and still hadn't "fixed" it, and they had other stuff to do so they had to abandon it.
Personally I would design it so that it can be controlled by a single big toe - side to side motion controls orientation, up and down motion controls open and closed position. That way you can have one on each hand. Combine it with a load cell on the bottom of the shoe that activates and deactivates it based on how much force is applied so it's not wiggling around while you're walking. I'd also add some small vibrating motors that can be used for haptic feedback from the thumb so you know when it's touching something (by the vibrators being on) and even how much force is being applied (by the amplitude/frequency of the vibrations).
Also not sure how I feel about the cable drive. Of course it does behave somewhat like muscle and allows the motors to be located some distance away, but I think for a thumb analog you need a certain level of precision control over position and force applied that a cable drive just can't give you. Like this is fine for grasping but you could never use it to type or fumble keys. I'd probably go with a bar linkage across the back.
I just tried and I can't get my big toe to move sideways.
Is your shoe blocking your big toe from moving or is your big toe not capable of separating from your other toes? First one I would not consider an issue - the system would need to be part of (or at least insertable into) an appropriately designed shoe anyways. If you're having trouble splitting your big toe from the rest, it's usually just an underdeveloped muscle, but you should most likely be able to do it after some exercise.
I was barefoot on the couch. I just can't seem to move my toe sideways.
I figured out that I can move my toe sideways when standing, but not when holding my foot up in the air.
The other day I was thinking about how you have certain generations that are exposed to a new technologies, and are "step function" different from previous generations. EG, most recently "digital natives" being kids for whom the internet was a defacto part of life.
I was wondering what is the thing that's going to come that will make me marvel at that generations ability to use a technology effortlessly. Maybe it's a 3rd thumb from birth!
> controlled by your toes
I wonder if there'll be a version that can be controlled by something less 'hacky' - maybe reading nerve signals to part of the hand.
The nerve signals going to your hand are already controlling the rest of your hand. While viable for prosthetic replacements, adding genuinely new functionality would come at the cost of current functionality. You need something that you can finely control in several degrees of freedom.
The toes are a very logical option - there's a very 1:1 relationship between how you control your fingers and toes meaning it's simple to learn and uses the same neural pathways, your toes are generally idle and you're free to wiggle them around as you please, and the interface is non-intrusive so you don't need surgery or elaborate tuning by a highly specialized medical technician.