3D printing is a pretty cool idea, even accounting for all the lunatics who’ll use it to make assault rifles and anime sex dolls from the comfort of their own homes. Brazilian industrial designer Jorge Roberto Lopes dos Santos has an idea everyone can get behind though: 3D printed ultrasounds that provide parents with a life-size replica of their developing child.
Tech Page One explains that a little 3D fetus is more than a novelty.
“It [the ultrasound] is one of the joyous benchmarks of pregnancy, but one that has been elusive to the visually impaired. Innovations in 3D printing, however, could change that.
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.
And dos Santos isn't alone. An expert at the American Foundation for the Blind thinks that 3D ultrasounds could help the visually impaired.
Neva Fairchild, the resident expert on independent living at the American Foundation for the Blind, said the models would also benefit visually impaired family members looking to share in the experience of seeing their loved one’s unborn child for the first time.
A model would allow people with impaired vision to know the size of a fetus while giving them a new appreciation of those tiny toes and fingers.” [Tech Page One]