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Surprising Science

Would You Pay For A 3D Model Of Your Unborn Child?

For a mere ¥100,000 (about $1,200), expectant couples can get a service that will turn MRI data into an image that can then be printed using a 3D printer.

What’s the Latest Development?

Engineering company Fasotec has paired with a Tokyo medical clinic to offer expecting couples in Japan a whole new way to see their unborn children: Instead of an ultrasound, the mother gets an MRI scan, and the data is then converted into a 3D image using special modeling technology. Finally, a 3D printer prints the image using two different colors, resulting in a white-colored fetus surrounded by transparent “tissue.” Currently a full-body model costs ¥100,000 (about $1,200), not including the MRI; next month a face-only model will be offered for half the cost.

What’s the Big Idea?

Fasotec is using the offer of 3D model fetuses to publicize its regular work, which involves making similar models of internal organs for use in physician training. Even though the image resolution isn’t perfect, the company says its customers love the service, which gives them a unique image to show friends and family. In a video interview, Fasotec marketing director Tomohiro Kinoshita says that mothers “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.”

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