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Blind Mothers “See” Unborn Babies with In Utero 3D

In Utero 3D

In Utero 3D uses scanning and printing to make the foetus accessible to blind parents, so they can feel the features of their unborn baby.

Expectant parents who are visually impaired can now experience images of their unborn baby as physical objects. This is thanks to an innovation which uses 3D scanning data to generate 3D printed models of the foetus in the womb.

The initiative by Polish company In Utero 3D is part of a project called Waiting Without Barriers. For only 1PLN or 1 Euro — and proof of eligibility — they’ll print a small bas relief of the baby for blind mothers and fathers.

According to a testimonial from one recipient, Grzegorz Romanowscy:

“I am blind daddy of little Johnny, who will be born in the second half of July. I was pleased to listen to the beating of his heart, but so far I could not see him. When I heard that there is a possibility to print results of a 3d ultrasound examination (“to print my son”), this idea fascinated me and we decided to participate in the program. A revelation and amazing feeling. I can touch and palpate every detail of the face of my little Johnny. I feel the nose, mouth, eyes – all the details are very clear. Now I can perceive how our baby looks like in 1:1 scale.”

Whilst the company is based in northern Poland, the service is also available in Europe. They also work with 3D Hubs to facilitate local printing.

Great Initiative by In Utero 3D

In Utero 3D use Ultimaker 2+ machines for their 3D printing, and pledge that they do not modify or enhance the photo. The goal is to offer exactly the same experience that any other mother would have when seeing their little one for the first time.

Ideally a scan will be taken in the 18th to 30th week of pregnancy, then “saved in Cartesian Volume Files (*.vol) format in case of GE Voluson or DICOM (*.dcm) format in case of Aloka instrument”.

The files are then sent to In Utero 3D using a secure server, and can take between four and seven hours to fabricate on the 3D printer. The prints themselves are made using a non-toxic plastic filament.

According to their site:

“The bas-relief is a true three dimensional representation of baby and environment in the mother’s womb. We maintain all proportions, spatial relations and actual dimensions of unborn child.”

This isn’t the first time that a foetus in the womb has been realised as a 3D object. But In Utero 3D should be commended for broadening the concept so that visually impaired folks can experience it too.

In utero 3d