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BMW helps Munich workers ease stress with 3D printed superthumb

Making cars is hard work - but now BMW has made it a little less stressful with these 3D printed thumb protectors that fit like a second skin
By: Tamlin Magee | Science, Space & Robotics News | Posted: Jul 4, 2014 6:36 pm

BMW is providing workers at a manufacturing plant in its native Germany with specially built 3D-printed thumb protectors to keep productivity up, and reduce the potential for workplace injuries or physical stress.




Every single one of the "super thumbs" will be customized for the individual, essentially turning them into a kind of protective second skin - however, they firm up when the thumbs are straightened, which lets workers press with a degree of force without putting strain on the joints.


The thumbs were built with the help of the Department of Ergonomics at the Technical University of Munich, and they're currently on trial at a Munich plant. "Even for people with strong hand muscles, the movement requires a certain effort," a spokesperson for BMW said.


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