The design of the human ear is one of nature’s engineering marvels. This paper examines the merit of ear design using axiomatic design principles. The ear is the organ of both hearing and balance. A sensitive ear can hear frequencies ranging from 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz. The vestibular apparatus of the inner ear is responsible for the static and dynamic equilibrium of the human body. The ear is divided into the outer ear, middle ear, and inner ear, which play their respective functional roles in transforming sound energy into nerve impulses interpreted in the brain. The human ear has many modules, such as the pinna, auditory canal, eardrum, ossicles, eustachian tube, cochlea, semicircular canals, cochlear nerve, and vestibular nerve. Each of these modules has several subparts. This paper tabulates and maps the functional requirements (FRs) of these modules onto design parameters (DPs) that nature has already chosen. The “independence axiom” of the axiomatic design methodology is applied to analyze couplings and to evaluate if human ear design is a good design (i.e., uncoupled design) or a bad design (i.e., coupled design). The analysis revealed that the human ear is a perfect design because it is an uncoupled structure. It is not only a perfect design but also a low-cost design. The materials that are used to build the ear atom-by-atom are chiefly carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, calcium, and nitrogen. The material cost is very negligible, which amounts to only a few of dollars. After a person has deceased, materials in the human system are upcycled by nature. We consider space requirements, materials cost, and upcyclability as “constraints” in the axiomatic design. In terms of performance, the human ear design is very impressive and serves as an inspiration for designing products in industrial environments.
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