Expectant parents can now get a 3D printed model of their unborn child.
Ultrasound images can be used to build a three-dimensional view of a fetus and recreate its features in stunning detail.
The model can be used to give parents an early glimpse at their baby or it can be used to look for signs of physical abnormalities.
Ivan Gridin, Founder of Russian firm Embryo 3D, initially created the technology to help a friend during her pregnancy.
Video footage shows expectant mother Yuliana Recu undergoing an ultrasound scan in the city of Ufa, from which a 3D printed model is replicated.
Mr. Gridin added that the models can now be modified to create a metal-plated version.
‘I have a friend (who) was worried about the health of her child and wanted to see it,’ he said.
‘She had an ultrasound several times, but it wasn’t enough. I was fond of new technologies at that time and 3D-printing. And I said “let’s print it”.’
‘Earlier we printed only from plastic, but now we are able to make plaster models and cover them with precious metals.’
The modeling process focuses mostly on details such as the shape and formation of the fingers and toes and even facial features.
Ms. Recu told International Business Times: ‘We ordered a 3D model of our child, which is in my belly now.
‘It is a weird feeling, the child hasn’t been born yet and but you can touch it and feel it as it is.’
Physical, tangible models are the next step on from complex and detailed 3D imaging techniques that advanced from the original, blurry Polaroid photos.
Brazilian scientists developed 3D imaging technology in 2016 that allowed parents to view realistic images of their unborn children.
They used the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to bring magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and ultrasound scans to life.
Parents could then view sharp and realistic images of the fetus instead of the traditionally blurred polaroids.
The technology layers MRI scans to create an accurate model.
Using the headset, the expectant parents can see their unborn child from outside the womb.
Virtual reality models are incredibly lifelike and recreate the entire internal structure of the fetus.
Images of the respiratory tract and other developments within the body of a fetus can be observed, which can aid doctors in assessing abnormalities.
VR images are more useful for diagnosing any conditions the fetus may have, but the physical model is more intimate for soon-to-be parents.
Oculus Rift 2 technology can place the user in a virtual world that includes the heartbeat of the baby.
In the immersive world, parents can turn their head and see the baby in incredible detail, as long as they are wearing the headset.
Study co-author Dr. Heron Werner Jr from the Clinica de Diagnostico por Imagem in Brazil, said at the time the study was published: ‘The experience with the Oculus Rift has been wonderful.
‘It provides fetal images that are sharper and clearer than ultrasound and MR images viewed on a traditional display.’
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