That's not a knife. That's an expensive, claw inspired-utility knife that might just save some damage to your digits. Because you know what else is expensive? A trip to the doctor's office.

The roots of the karambit knife can be traced back to agricultural practices in Indonesia during the 11th century, where the curved blade of the karambit was said to be inspired by the claw of a tiger. The nature of that arched blade has seen the iconic karambit take on all kinds of uses, including hunting, cutting ropes and vines, and close-quarter combat and martial arts.

One thing karambit pocket knives have in common with most of their straight-bladed brethren is that fingers need to be removed from the handle before the blade is deployed or retracted (well, it's advisable as least). But California-based knife-maker Joe Caswell has found a way around this.

With his Morphing Karambit in hand, users can deploy the blade without needing to lift a finger. Rather than having the blade swing outwards on a single axis, it instead relies on a set of hinges that slide the blade tip downwards and safely out beyond the handle, keeping the sharp edge's path away from your fingers.

This is actually Caswell's second prototype. The original Morphing Karambit deployed its blade by way a of a squeezing mechanism, which was also impressive. This time around, the blade snaps into action with a quick downward swipe of the thumb on a release lever on top.

The upgraded version also features fewer parts – just five plus fasteners and a titanium pocket clip – making it mechanically simpler and more durable. The steel blade itself measures 2.5 in long and 0.21 in thick (6.35 x 0.53 cm), while the knife overall has a total weight of 6 oz (170 g).

Caswell plans to sell the Morphing Karambit for US$650, but first off he's running a Kickstarter campaign to fund production, where they are available for pledges of $450. If everything runs as planned, he expects to start shipping globally in October 2018. You can check out the pitch video below.

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