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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Weirdest News for 2011: A Man With an Ear in His Arm

Australian artist Stelarc had an ear surgically implanted in his arm-Ripley's Believe It or Not!

There's a man with an extra ear -- but it's not on his head. Australian artist Stelarc says it took him a decade to find a surgeon crazy enough to help him achieve his dream: the implantation of an ear... in his arm.

Specifically, the inner part of his upper left arm, which is probably the exact place an ear never needs to be.

The very weirdness of this feat put Stelarc at the top of Ripley's list of Top 11 Strangest Stories of 2011 -- but he says there's a purpose to this beyond making weird news headlines.

According to the Daily Telegraph at the Kinetica Art Fair in LondonStelarc took a decade to find the surgeon willing to perform the procedure, and almost lost his arm to infection during the process. The extra ear was grown by first inflating an empty pocket beneath the skin over many months before a basic ear-like structure was inserted inside. Once implanted the artist's cells were encouraged to grow on the structure to build a real ear with its own blood supply. Once fully grown, which will take another year, Stelarc will insert a microphone linked to the internet that will allow people to hear what his arm is listening to at any hour of the day or night.

"It isn't for my benefit", he said. "I have two perfectly good ears, but to explore the idea of me becoming an acoustic device for other people."

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