The Small Bones of the Ear

I was recently challeneged by an ENT consultant to design and fold a set of the small bones in the ear. (for the American viewers, ENT stands for Ear, Nose and Throat, and is called Otolaryngology in the States). These bones are, from left to right, the Malleus, Incus and Stapes. The handle of the Malleus is in contact with the Tympanic membrane (ear drum), and the three bones help turn sound waves into an electrical signal by communicating with an organ called the cochlea.

The malleus is formed from a fish base, with one long part forming the head, and the other forming the handle. The two shorter points became the anterior and lateral process. The incus is a simple kite base reverse-folded back on itself and rolled into a tube. The stapes is formed from folding the square into a strip and then creating a hoop - this is then shapped into the stirrup-like shape.

These models were presented, along with a few others, at the recent ENT audit meeting at the hospital I work at. The surgeons present all agreed they were very realistic!