3D Printed Sonograms for Blind Parents

How's this for a great use for emerging technology? Combine a sonogram that gives a 3D rendering of a fetus with 3D printing, and you produce a plastic model of the baby months before birth. This goes a long way toward allowing the vision-impaired to feel the shape and size of the baby, whether it's the mother or other family members. Industrial designer Jorge Roberto Lopes dos Santos is putting that technology to work.

His company Tecnologia Humana 3D has been developing new ways to build three-dimensional computer models using data from sonograms and other imaging techniques after initially setting out to enhance prenatal diagnostic tools.

The work took a new direction when dos Santos realized that printing these models would give visually impaired mothers-to-be a chance to meet their babies in utero.

“We work mainly to help physicians when there is some eventual possibility of malformation,” dos Santos said. “We also work for parents who want to have the models of their fetuses in 3D.”
Tecnologia Humana designs the models with sophisticated programs that produce highly detailed simulations of a fetus’ anatomy that doctors can examine virtually.

So of course the technology will also be available to those who don't need it but can afford it. Soon, when you ask an expectant father how his wife is doing, and he may pull out a tiny plastic fetus instead of the currently used sonogram printout. Link -via io9

(Image credit: Tecnologia Humana 3D)


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