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Project Anima

A Second Skin

     Project Anima is a project that looked into aesthetics and technologies for prosthetic hands. Working with doctors and patients enabled me to generate human centred direction to my research.


The final piece is a double moulded polyurethane hand that is soft to the touch and a fabric capable of enabling a sense of touch to the wearers. The fabric was woven in collaboration with Aine Byrnes, as currently there are no fabric like this around. Using capacitive sensing it enables wearers to feel even the subtle brushes on the arm as we walk in public, and mimic how human arms are capable of sensing the heat from a hand before it touches us.


     Prosthetic hands are unique, in that it can be seen in multiple views. It can be seen as an object when it is not worn. It is a tool to hold objects, feel and explore the world. It provides a doorway to physical interaction with others, for dancing and holding hands. It can also be a method of expressing the individuality of the wearer, as a fashion item. It is able to provide symmetry of weight for the body, but also aesthetic balance of human beings. This brings about multitudes of approaches to prosthetic design.


     Looking back on the project, I think I found current designs static, emotionless and limiting. So I thought, "How might we bring humanness to prosthetics".


     Some of the most interesting things I discovered made me re-phrase that initial question. When we first see a prosthetic hand and pick it up, we feel something out of place and unsettling, because of the wrinkles on it that is not real. The feeling of revulsion as a response to these aesthetic feature that attempts to be real is called the "uncanny valley". So I looked into designing a prosthesis that speaks honestly that it is a prosthesis but hold the human values and warmth we get from a hand.

Project Info

Thesis Project for IDE Royal College of Art

Location - London, UK

Project Type - Self Initiated

Designer - Yuki Machida


Final Piece Woven Textile Collaboration - Aine Byrnes (Textiles RCA)

Mixed Media Collaboration - Carly Mikkelsen (Mixed Media RCA)


Awards - James Dyson Bursary, Innovation RCA Finalist




Final Piece - Conductive thread, Electronics (various), Polyurethane


Year: 2014 | Duration: 5months

Work is currently continuing.


Please contact if interested in collaborating or for more info.


Supersaturation - Structural Growth

PlayPod - Future Transport/Cities

FoodChar - Carbon Negative

Kumo Homes - Affordable Living

Murr-ma - Amphibious Prosthesis

REACH - Force Assistive Grament

Project Anima - Second Skin

yuki (at) yukimachida.com

© Yuki Machida 2015