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This guy wants to broadcast online from the ear he's been growing on his arm

Yes, you read every word of that correctly.

Edinburgh International Science Festival File photo of Stelarc - and his ear. Source: PA WIRE

AN AUSTRALIAN ARTIST and academic plans to connect to the internet an ear which he has been growing for years on his arm, so people can hear and track his movements.

The project by Stelarc – a professor from Curtin University in Western Australia – is his latest in a series of artworks blending robotics, prosthetics and the human body.

Speaking to ABC, Stelarc said:

Increasingly now, people are becoming Internet portals of experience…
Imagine if I could hear with the ears of someone in New York, imagine if I at the same time, could see with the eyes of someone in London.

A miniature microphone with wireless Internet connection will be inserted into the “ear”, while people will be able to track it through a GPS device placed on the body part.

“There won’t be an on-off switch,” he said of the microphone.

If I’m not in a wi-fi hotspot or I switch off my home modem, then perhaps I’ll be offline, but the idea actually is to try to keep the ear online all the time.

Stelarc, born Stelios Arcadiou in Cyprus, has previously created an exoskeleton, inserted a sculpture into his stomach and used a robotic third arm for writing.

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stelarc Stelarc, in 1996, making a cup of tea with his robotic third arm. Source: PA Wire

He said the idea of having an ear implanted and grown on his arm first emerged in 1996, and told the Today Show on 9News:

In previous performances I’ve used a third hand, an extended arm, a six-legged robot. Having an extra ear was sort of a natural progression.

Stelarc said the ear was “partly surgically constructed and partly cell-grown”.

A biopolymer scaffold was inserted into my arm, skin was suctioned over it and then over a period of six months that encourages your cells to grow into the scaffold.
It grows its own blood supply so this ear becomes not only fixed, but a part of your body.

Contains reporting by AFP.

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Dan MacGuill

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