And the final step includes inserting a miniature microphone that can connect wireless to the internet.
The project by a professor from Curtin University in Western Australia, known as Stelarc, is his latest in a series of artworks exploring the boundaries of blending robotics, prosthetics and the human body.
“When we grow an ear lobe using my adult stem cells we’re then going to electronically augment the ear to internet-enable it in any wi-fi hotspot”, he told Channel Nine’s Today Show on Wednesday.
‘They’ll be able to follow a conversation or hear the sounds of a concert, wherever I am, wherever you are’.
Described as feeling harder than cartilage but still soft to the touch, Stelarc first started working on his prosthetic ear project in 1996.
They managed to insert an ear-shaped scaffold underneath his skin, and over the next six months tissue and blood vessels developed around it. Right now it looks pretty convincing, but there’s more work to be done. “Because it’s generating that anxiety, that uncertainty and that ambivalence and reaction that makes the body re-examine the world”, said Stelarc.
This ear is not for me, I’ve got two good ears to hear with.
Stelarc said the ear was “partly surgically constructed and partly cell-grown”.
He originally came up with the idea in 1996, but it took him 10 years to get a team of experts to agree to the procedure.
MediaArtTube via YouTube A surgeon prepares to implant a lab-grown ear into the forewarm of artist Stelarc in the video “Stelarc: Ear on Arm, Engineering Internet Organ 2008”. However, he couldn’t find any surgeons willing to hear him out until 2006. His family has also come to better understand his intentions and motivations over time.
Stelarc has been exploring the boundaries of the human body for years.
“Sometimes when what I’m doing is criticized, it’s an unfair criticism I think because it’s a criticism that doesn’t realize the value of our poetry, of our philosophy, of our artistic practice”, he said.