The FASOTEC Company has developed 3D printing technology a step further to make foetus models which allow parents to see their child’s face.  The company can also make other scanned body parts and organs.  The times of grainy black and white ultrasound pictures is fading, as a Japanese company is offering expectant parents models of their baby’s face while the child is still inside the womb.

3D Printed Models

A Medical engineering firm, FASOTEC, is using 3D printers to convert scans into cream-coloured resin replicas of a foetus’ at a cost of approximately $500.  But it doesn’t stop there, with the Tokyo-based business also recreating other scanned body parts and organs to enable medical personnel to practice before operations.  ‘FASOTEC spokesman; Tomohiro Kinoshita has said “As it is only once in a lifetime that you are pregnant with that child, we received requests for these kind of models from pregnant women who… do not want to forget the feelings and experience of that time” according to AFP. 

The company uses a technique called layering to build up the 3D form, which is based on ultrasound scans.  These scans are usually taken around eight or nine months into the pregnancy.  Then the three-dimensional printers, which have been around for several decades, are used like inkjet printers, but instead of ink, they operate by depositing layers of material on top of each other.  FASOTEC used to produce 3.6 inch (9 centimeter) models of an entire foetus encased in a transparent block, taking the shape of the mother’s uterus, but stopped doing it due to possible risks of MRI during pregnancy, according to  The models called “Shape of an Angel”, which cost in the region of $1164, also came with a miniature version of the model that could be attached to mobile telephone straps.

Now, however, the company makes models of anything that has been scanned, including body parts and organs to enable medical personnel to practice surgery before operations.  Kinoshita told AFP that 3D bone printouts have the same texture as the real thing.

From weaponry that removes life, to models of life in its earliest stage, the 3D printing phase is breaking boundaries, but what do you think the future holds for this fascinating and varied technology?

[Image via giornalettismo]