One day expectant mothers might go for an ultrasound and leave with a 3D printed sculpture of their unborn baby. Several companies are pioneering the technology, including Tecnologia Humana 3D in Brazil and Fasotec in Japan.
At Tecnologia Humana the 3D printed fetuses are being used to diagnose birth defects in-utero. So far, doctors have been able to correctly diagnose things like Down Syndrome, cleft lip and skeletal abnormalities from the printed models.
Fetus at 8 weeks.
"We work mainly to help physicians when there is some eventual possibility of malformation," said Dr. Jorge Roberto Lopes dos Santos. "We also work for parents who want to have the models of their fetuses in 3D."