Different companies have different ways of ensuring that their employees aren’t overworked or that they have the proper assistance whenever they might encounter something health-related during the course of work, although we have to wonder if any of them could be as unique and interesting as what BMW is doing for their assembly workers.
Now we know that 3D printing can create limbs and bones, so what BMW has done is that they are providing their assembly workers with 3D printed thumbs. These thumbs aren’t meant to replace any thumbs lost during the course of work, but are designed to protect the wearer from over-straining their digits.
These 3D printed thumbs were designed to help assembly workers who worked in a particular section of the production line, where it involves the use of the thumb to put a particular component into place. Due to the repetition of the job, it could lead to unnecessary pressure on the hand, so BMW and the Depart of Ergonomics at the Technical University of Munich came up with the 3D printed thumb.
The 3D thumb will be tailor fit to individuals, since we all have thumbs of different sizes. The thumb itself will be flexible, but when straightened, it will lock into place, thus reinforcing it. This allows the pressure applied to be spread throughout the entire wrist, as opposed to one part of the hand. So far the thumb has been met with positive feedback and the company is now looking into how 3D printing could be used to create more personalized tools for its workers.