It’s hard to say how long it will take, but it seems inevitable that one day humans will develop a third hand for the sole use of holding a smartphone while keeping the other two free. For those who can’t wait for that incredibly useful mutation, Thanko’s selling a mechanical alternative that gives the wearer hands-free smartphone powers right now.
Thanko is a Japanese purveyor of weird gadgets that are sometimes incredibly useful, but most of the time are instead just incredibly weird. Past hits include a desktop double-decker bento box rice cooker, a handheld motorized dish scrubber for those lacking a dishwasher, and battery-powered armpit air conditioners that promise to eliminate embarrassing pit stains at work. There was even a comfy-looking cushion that facilitated hands-free smartphone gaming, but it’s now been one-upped by this wrist-worn alternative.
Reminiscent of the contraptions that allowed Prohibition-era gangsters to hide Derringer pistols up their sleeves for quick deployment, Thanko’s mount attaches to your wrist using a velcro strap. A short swiveling articulated arm securely holds a smartphone using an adjustable clamp. It’s a simple idea, and if you can stomach the embarrassment of being seen wearing one of these out in public, it seems like if offers some genuinely useful functionality.
A smartphone can be a helpful tool when riding a bike, serving as everything from a speedometer to a satellite navigation system. But it’s often a very bumpy ride, and while bike mounts are designed to cushion a phone as much as possible, there’s always the potential risk of damaging your $1,000 device. With this mount, a rider can not only use their arm to provide extra cushioning while on a bike, it also makes it much easier to see a smartphone’s screen when periodically brought closer to the face.
Thanko suggests other uses as well, like letting someone use a smartphone while one hand securely grips a subway handhold, or making it accessible while a user’s hands are shooting with a larger DSLR camera. It’s even a useful way to pay close attention to your phone while you’re typing away at work, assuming you’re not hunting and pecking with a single finger. And it helps keep your dirty hands off your smartphone while in the bathroom, even if you refuse to admit you take your device in there with you. What more can you ask of an $18 device?