Currently, many clinics provide photos taken during ultrasound scans. But last July, Tokyo-based medical engineering firm Fasotec and Hiroo Ladies clinic started a service that makes 3D models showing the inside of the abdomen during pregnancy.
“We actually got three expectant mothers to try this out. They said it felt great to see how their babies looked before birth, and to be able to actually hold the inside of their own body. They also enjoyed looking at the model after giving birth, thinking, “This is how my baby looked inside me” and recalling how it felt to be pregnant.” said Tomohiro Kinoshita of Fasotec.
The 3D model is generated using a special technology, called BioTexture, for 3D processing of the image data. Then, the 3D model is formed by a 3D printer.
Fasotec experimented with printouts of the entire fetus based on MRI scans, but because of possible risks of MRI during pregnancy, now they’re sticking with models of just the face using standard ultrasound scans.
In the video below, little Kyosuke is 2-months-old. When he was born his family already knew what he’d look like from a 3D printout of his face, made when he was in the womb.
“When we did it I was eight months pregnant, so he already had a human shape and baby face. I wonder how I’d have felt if I’d seen him earlier in my pregnancy,” said his mother Kyoko Aizaka.
“What’s amazing about this technology is if you bring your body and you do a scanning, we can make whatever’s in the scanning screen,” said Tomohiro Kinoshita.
Fasotec offers a medical service called Bio-Texture Modeling. It captures images of each patient’s bones and organs using CT or MRI, to obtain 3D data, which is processed and printed in 3D. The models are extremely lifelike so doctors can practice before they operate.
The 3D printed model costs $500 but that is a lot more durable than a photo.