shortcut the digital prosthesis is a wristband that translates phantom hand gestures and planar movements into a wireless computer control. the device is mainly based on a repertoire of gestures that most amputees can still address neurologically. creators david kaltenbach, lucas rex, maximilian mahal – from weißensee academy of art berlin – developed a catalogue of gestures that includes both basic functions such as cursor movement, left and right click and scroll, as well as quick access to functions such as zoom and quit. 

shortcut digital prosthesis designboom
photo © bernado aviles-busch




when having to rely on a prosthesis, using digital devices is difficult: mouse, keyboard and touchscreens are designed for organic hands only. yet amputees are often capable of using muscular gestures with their phantom hand, which can be read out. shortcut however translates these hand gestures and planar movements into a wireless computer control. thanks to a user-centered design approach the controls can be learned quickly and intuitively. its main body consists of two injection moulded interlocking parts that are rotatable. to activate the sensor, the upper part is rotated counterclockwise and locks into place, while the opening thus slides over the sensor.





the creative team state that ‘the project was started with an intense research and ideation phase. we tried to get as close to the user as possible, to be able to identify core problems and frame first ideas. we interviewed patients and medics and we for example spent a day using only one hand. many playful quick’n’dirty prototypes helped to get a better feel of how to approach different aspects.’


shortcut has won the STARTS prize by ars electronica and the mart stam förderpreis and will be shown at ars electronica 8 -12. sept, linz (aut).

shortcut digital prosthesis designboom
gesture catalog

shortcut digital prosthesis designboom

shortcut digital prosthesis designboom
technical package




designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: hollie smith | designboom