Science Enables Professor To Grow An Ear On His Arm

In an effort to explore how the body performs and functions, an Australian professor is developing a functioning ear on his own arm.

Stelarc, an Australian university professor, has grown an ear on his arm as part of an art project that blends body and machine.

A medical team inserted the bio-polymer frame shaped like an ear beneath his skin and within six months, tissue and blood vessels grew around it.

“It is partly surgically constructed, and partially cell-grown,” Stelarc said during an interview with the Today Show.


The project has been in the works for nearly a decade and is still not finished. He wants to eventually grow an earlobe on it -- developed from his own stem cells -- and then have a microphone with a wireless transmitter inserted that can be connected to Wi-Fi.

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This process will allow anyone listening online to hear what the ear hears. Stelarc previously tried to add a microphone but had to remove it due to an infection.

He said the reactions from other people to the ear in his arm range anywhere from fascination to own reaction aligned more closely with the latter. 

The concept is intriguing, no doubt, but why would anyone feel a need or desire to have this?

According to Stelarc, it's just important to discover how the body performs because it functions as an extended operational system, similarly to a machine. 

"This ear is not for me, I've got two good ears to hear with. This ear is a remote listening device for people in other places," Stelarc told ABC News.

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"They'll be able to follow a conversation or hear the sounds of a concert, wherever I am, wherever you are ... imagine if I could hear with the ears of someone in New York."

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