June 29, 2011
The X-Finger is developed by Dan Didrick (Didrick Medical Inc.) and it has been presented as the world’s first active-function artificial finger assembly designed specifically for partial finger amputees. This finger device provides users to regain complete control of the flexion and extension movements with an artificial finger in a self-contained device. The X-Finger wass designed to bend a silicone finger sheath in a very realistic manner.
Dan Didrick was motivated in part by a desire to help a hearing-impaired person regain sign language ability after losing fingers. He whittled his first concept prototype out of pine wood.
Then he began using 3D design software to refine his landmark invention. Eight years after initial sketches, hundreds of X-Fingers are in use today, and Didrick Medical has also produced X-Thumbs.
It appears that there is a big demand for these simple X-finger devices. Because according U.S. Bureau of Labor data, every year about 8,000 work-related amputations occur involving one or more fingers.
Read more about more ‘bionic hand’ milestones:
June 25, 2011
As a research scientist, Dr. Erina Lee is responsible for the international relationships research at eHarmony. In the following article she described how to use hands in building relationships!
Whether they’re soft and manicured, strong and calloused, weathered and wrinkled—hands come in all shapes and sizes and can often say a lot about you. They can reveal the tattered fingernails of nervous nail biter, the orange fingers of a cheese puff lover, or the worn hands of a grandmother. And when you look even closer at the many lines and wrinkles, is it possible that your hands can reveal even more? Some people believe that clues to our basic selves can be found in the details of our hands. But do our hands really tell us anything of importance about who we really are? Is it possible that the numerous bumps and ridges unique to every hand hold some insight into our level of intelligence or into our love lives?
In an eternal quest for self-discovery, people have looked towards hand readers, among other mystics, to see if the lines in their hands really tell them something meaningful about themselves and their future. In current times, people turn to internet quizzes and online hand reading to make sense of the heart and life lines and the shape of their hands. Although these tests and quizes can be fun, when put to the test of empirical science, most of these claims and predictions cannot be verified. Furthermore, these uncorroborated predictions about personality traits and future events leave palm reading in the category of a pseudoscience.
Despite the inaccuracy of palmistry readings, however, there are aspects of the hands that have been studied empirically, including finger length. When looking at the palm of your hand, fingers straight together, you will likely notice a difference between your second (index) and fourth (ring) fingers. On average women have longer index fingers, compared to ring fingers while men have longer ring fingers compared to index fingers. This association between the two fingers, called the 2D:4D ratio, is related to levels of androgen exposure (a sex hormone higher in men) in the womb. That means that the amount of male hormones a fetus is exposed to determines this very specific detail of finger length in the hands. The precise mechanism by which androgen works is not entirely clear, but in general most theorists believe that increasing androgen exposure will masculinize a fetus. There is also some evidence suggesting that either too much or too little androgen can be feminizing to the fetus.
Because androgen exposure is related to sexual development and masculinization, researchers have begun to wonder if the 2D:4D ratio, as a marker of hormone exposure, may also predict other characteristics. Hormone exposure has been linked to things like general physical health, cognitive abilities, personality, job preferences, attractiveness, and sexual orientation. While the 2D:4D ratio may relate to these developmental characteristics, thus far the evidence supporting such a link is at best described as mixed. For example, there has been much attention dedicated to whether the 2D:4D ratio relates to sexual orientation. While there have been several studies in this area, some have shown no differences between heterosexual and homosexual men in their 2D:4D ratios (e.g., Williams et al., 2000), and others, like Lippa, have shown heterosexual men having lower 2D:4D ratios compared to homosexual men. Similarly with other characteristics like personality and attraction, the research findings have been fairly inconsistent.
Another aspect of the hands that have been conclusively studied are the ridges, the ones that cover the palms and fingers, the ones that make up our unique fingerprints. The study of these ridges is called dermatoglyphics. Similar to the finger length, these ridges are known to be established earlier in the embryonic development, while the fetus is still in the womb. Researchers have shown dermatoglyphic differences between non-deficient people and those with cognitive or genetic abnormalities, like schizophrenia, Down’s syndrome, and intellectual disability. For example, individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia show fewer ridges between two specific points under the second and third fingers [a-b ridge count] compared to non-schizophrenic controls (Bramon et al., 2005). These findings support the idea that changes in the prenatal environment can display its effects in multiple ways, including changes in cognitive development and ridges of the hands. However, the findings do not assume that all people with fewer ridges have cognitive deficiencies.
To summarize, we do know that specific details in our hands are affected by early hormonal exposure and other environmental influences in the womb. And we know that this early exposure also affects other aspects of our development. While it is intriguing to speculate further that details in our hands can predict aspects of our personality or behavior, these conjectures have not been empirically supported. It’s also likely that there are more direct measures of personality, intelligence, and behavioral traits rather than the hands. But even though you can’t currently rely on your hands to unlock all of your mysteries, one thing you can count on is more studies and discussion about them to come.
In the acting and modelling profession, where outward appearance is important, quite a few people with ’clubbed thumbs’ have become successful. Next to Megan Fox (see previous post) being the most well-known example there is a considerable list of models & actresses who have the same thumb abnormality.
Maybe, some might now think that a toe tumb can be ‘sexy’, but the truth is that brachydactyly type d is a common trait in the general population - though the prevalence varies among populations around the world. According the World of Clubbed Thumbs the statistics are: 0.1% of blacks, 0.4% of whites, 1.6% of Jews and 3% of Arabs.
The list of models & actresses with a brachydactyly type d thumb includes (alphabetic order):
• Malin Akerman (Swedish-Canadian actress & model):
• Megan Fox (US actress & model):
• Sanaa Lathan (US actress):
• Leighton Meester (US actress & singer):
• Vittoria Puccini (Italian actress):
• Ashley Tesoro (US actress, model & singer):
• Anna Walton (UK actress):
NOTICE: A longer list of celebrities who have ‘clubbed thumbs’ is available at Facebook.
More hands of actors, models, celebrities & movie stars are available here: http://www.handresearch.com/hands-of-fame.htm
June 17, 2011
Funny Armani commercial: ‘The tip’ (2010) - feat. Megan Fox.
Remember the funny story about actress Megan Fox thumbs being photoshopped in the 2010 Motorola Superbowl commercial? Well, in the 2010 Armani jeans & underwear commercials the producers made likewise actions on her thumbs!
For those who are not yet familiar with the shape of Megan Fox’s thumb, the recent picture below displays an impression of her ‘clubbed thumb’ which looks like a ‘toe thumb’ (a.k.a. brachydactyly type d, or BDD).
MEGAN’S ARMANI THUMBS:
Now, let’s take a look at some impression from Megan’s 2010 Armani jeans & underwear ad campaign. Notice anything strange about her thumbs in the first two pictures below? – Probably not.
So far so good?
But what is your impression of the photos below? Notice anything strange about her thumb? Yes, yes, yes! The Armani people definitely took the time to photoshop her thumb, because now it suddenly appears to be a normal ‘slender’ thumb with a longer fingernail – but that is not how Megan’s thumbs look like at all!
Obviously, the Armani people replaced it altogether. What’s wrong with you, people? Why not photoshop her tattoos, but only Megan’s thumbs… bad taste?
By the way, Megan Fox’s thumb story does not stand on it’s own. Because today Photoshopping is applied to nearly every photo of any model. And as a matter of fact: there are many examples available where the details can be studied, such as: the famous Madonna photoshop example, and here are 40 other amazing photoshop examples.
Anyway, even as a married woman… Megan definitely succeeded in the Armani video ‘The tip’ (see above) to keep her cool ’sexy’ image alive. Definitely a funny, amusing commercial: thumbs up for Megan & Armani!
Finally, you can read much more about Megan’s thumbs – here are the older stories about her thumbs:
June 16, 2011
Okay… a funny introduction to John Lajoie’s world!
NOTICE: This video includes some strong language, but be aware… this guy is claiming to have 6 fingers: 5 on his right hand + 1 finger on his left hand – he simply doesn’t count the other 4 - so maybe none of John Lajoie’s words should be taken seriously.
More of John Lajoie’s ‘hands nonsense’ is available here: http://www.jonlajoie.com/aboutme.html
Just in case you’re interested in more serious ‘funny’ reports about hands, you will probably enjoy reading about the international reports about people who have more fingers beyond your imagination:
June 13, 2011
Okay, you probably know that the human opposable thumb plays a significant role in the fact that human kind is ruling the world. But what if cats had opposable thumbs? Would they let us live in peace, or would we be welcoming our new cat overlords?
Cravendale Milk shows us one possible vision of the thumb-catted future in a new ad where thumbcat thugs try to roll humans for cartons of milk.
The video ‘Evolution of the human hand’ - presents a detailed picture of how modern science perceives the evolution of the human hand in time. The video is sort of based on Darwin’s evolution theory, but the details were delevered by experts in anthropology who studied how the hand shape, finger length & palmar creases evolved during the past 1.8 million years.
The video demonstrates how the ‘early’ humanoid hands (and primates) are typically featured with 3 or more ‘complete transverse creases’ (multiple simian lines), which are positioned horizontal in the hand + two major vertical lines. While at the end of the video displays a typical human hand featured with only 2 curved, oblique positioned ‘primary palmar creases’ (heart line and head line) + one major vertical line (life line).
And the differences between the human hand and the hands of primates served as a model for the evolution of the human hand in time - see below the hands of a man compared to the hands of a baboon, orangutang & chimpanzee.
Another important figure in the history of medical science was the Scottish surgeon John Hunter, who turned the attention of science from the structure of hands to it’s function:
“Structure is the intimate expression of function”
- John Hunter, Scottish surgeon (1728-1793) -
More details about the evolution of other features of the human hand are presented in the articles:
KENT, MARCH 2011 - New research from anthropologists at the University of Kent has confirmed Charles Darwin’s speculation that the evolution of unique features in the human hand was influenced by increased tool use in our ancestors.
Research over the last century has certainly confirmed the existence of a suite of features in the bones and musculature of the human hand and wrist associated with specific gripping and manipulatory capabilities that are different from those of other extant great apes. These features have fuelled suggestions that, at some point since humans split from the last common ancestor of living apes, the human hand evolved away from features adapted for locomotion toward alternative functions.
Now, researchers Dr Stephen Lycett and Alastair Key have shown that the hands of our ancestors may have been subject to natural selection as a result of using simple cutting tools. In a series of experiments that used stone flakes similar to those known from Africa around 2.6 million years ago, they analysed whether variation in the hand size of individual tool users reflects differences that affect the efficiency of these simple tools to cut through a rope.
Their results, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, show that ‘biometric’ variation did indeed result in a significant relationship with cutting efficiency in the experimental task.
Dr Lycett, Senior Lecturer in Human Evolution at the University’s School of Anthropology and Conservation, explained: ’140 years ago, writing from his home at Down House in Kent, Darwin proposed that the use of stone tools may have influenced the evolution of human hands.
‘Our research suggests that he was correct. From a very early stage in our evolution, the cultural behaviour of our ancestors was influencing biological evolution in specific ways.’
Scientists may have solved the mystery of how human hands became nimble enough to make and manipulate stone tools.
The team reports in the journal Evolution that changes in our hands and fingers were a side-effect of changes in the shape of our feet.
This, they say, shows that the capacity to stand and walk on two feet is intrinsically linked to the emergence of stone tool technology.
The scientists used a mathematical model to simulate the changes.
Other researchers, though, have questioned this approach.
Campbell Rolian, a scientist from the University of Calgary in Canada who led the study, said: “This goes back to Darwin’s The Descent of Man.
“[Charles Darwin] was among the first to consider the relationship between stone tool technology and bipedalism.”
“His idea was that they were separate events and they happened sequentially – that bipedalism freed the hand to evolve for other purposes.”
“What we showed was that the changes in the hand and foot are similar developments… and changes in one would have side-effects manifesting in the other.”
To study this, Dr Rolian and his colleagues took measurements from the hands and feet of humans and of chimpanzees.
Their aim was to find out how the hands and feet of our more chimp-like ancestors would have evolved.
The researchers’ measurements showed a strong correlation between similar parts of the hand and foot. “So, if you have a long big toe, you tend have a long thumb,” Dr Rolian explained.
“One reason fingers and toes may be so strongly correlated is that they share a similar genetic and developmental ‘blueprint’, and small changes to this blueprint can affect the hand and foot in parallel,” he said.
With this anatomical data, the researchers were able to create their mathematical simulation of evolutionary change.
“We used the mathematical model to simulate the evolutionary pressures on the hands and feet,” Dr Rolian explained.
This model essentially adjusted the shape of the hands or the feet, recreating single, small evolutionary changes to see what effect they had.
By simulating this evolutionary shape-shifting, the team found that changes in the feet caused parallel changes in the hands, especially in the relative proportions of the fingers and toes.
These parallel changes or side-effects, said Dr Rolian, may have been an important evolutionary stem that allowed human ancestors, including Neanderthals, to develop the dexterity for stone tool technology.
Robin Crompton, professor of anatomy at the UK’s Liverpool University, said the study was very interesting but also raised some questions.
“I am not personally convinced that the foot and hand of chimpanzees are a good model [of human ancestors' hands and feet] – the foot of the lowland gorilla may be more interesting in this respect,” he told BBC News.
He pointed out that there was a lot more to the functional shape and biomechanics of the human foot than just its proportions.
Paul O’Higgins, professor of anatomy at the Hull York Medical School, UK, said: “The results are quite exciting and will doubtless spur further testing and additional work.”
The ‘Vitruvian Man’ - Leonardo da Vinci‘s famous drawing from the year 1487 - can be described as one of the earliest sources presenting guidelines for hand anthropometry. Today, plays hand anthropometry a considerable role in the fields of design, ergonomics, and even architecture! An update presenting data from e.g. the NASA and the US army.
The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man.
Interestingly, Leonardo’s comments for the proportions of th e ‘Vitruvian Man‘ includes a few passage where the hands and fingers are mentioned, quote:
“For the human body is so designed by nature that the face, from the chin to the top of the forehead and the lowest roots of the hair, is a tenth part of the whole height; the open hand from the wrist to the tip of the middle finger is just the same; the head from the chin to the crown is an eighth, and with the neck and shoulder from the top of the breast to the lowest roots of the hair is a sixth; from the middle of the breast to the summit of the crown is a fourth. If we take the height of the face itself, the distance from the bottom of the chin to the under side of the nostrils is one third of it; the nose from the under side of the nostrils to a line between the eyebrows is the same; from there to the lowest roots of the hair is also a third, comprising the forehead. The length of the foot is one sixth of the height of the body; of the forearm, one fourth; and the breadth of the breast is also one fourth. The other members, too, have their own symmetrical proportions, and it was by employing them that the famous painters and sculptors of antiquity attained to great and endless renown. Similarly, in the members of a temple there ought to be the greatest harmony in the symmetrical relations of the different parts to the general magnitude of the whole. Then again, in the human body the central point is naturally the navel. For if a man be placed flat on his back, with his hands and feet extended, and a pair of compasses centred at his navel, the fingers and toes of his two hands and feet will touch the circumference of a circle described therefrom. And just as the human body yields a circular outline, so too a square figure may be found from it. For if we measure the distance from the soles of the feet to the top of the head, and then apply that measure to the outstretched arms, the breadth will be found to be the same as the height, as in the case of plane surfaces which are perfectly square.”
Leonardo da Vinci’s comment about the proportion of the average hand was quite right, but the field of anthropometry has later developed more precise methods in order to describe the most important individual variations concerning the human body. Various sources of anthropometric hand data indicate the average hand length is close to 11% of body height (usually slightly smaller). Leonardo’s ‘Study of arms and hands’ is another of his drawings.
Today, anthropometry plays an important role in industrial design, clothing design, ergonomics and architecture where statistical data about the distribution of body dimensions in the population are used to optimize products.
DATA FROM THE NASA & US ARMY:
In the last decade of the 20 century reports became available developed by the NASA & the US army – which include data for at least 20 characteristics of the human hand shape, including e.g. hand length, hand breadth & finger length. The data in the picture above represents static human physical characteristics of the adult hand, presented in 2000 by the Department of Defense Human Factors Engineering Technical Advisory Group.
The picture below presents at the bottom some average data based on German, UK & American populations – which provide useful ‘points of reference’ in the perspective of biometry & Multi-Perspective Palm Reading.
Finally, regarding Leonardo da Vinci it might be interesting to notice here that in 2008 a report was published describing characteristics of his fingerprint: