Oct 9, 2017 | By Tess

Japanese tech company Marubeni Information Systems Co. (MSYS) has broken into the niche market of 3D printed fetus models in its most recent endeavour. The company, a subsidiary of general trading company Marubeni, is now offering a service through which it will create 3D printed models based on people’s unborn babies.

If you haven’t come across the recent (and admittedly strange) trend of 3D printing realistic fetus models for expecting parents, you might be surprised to learn just how many companies are offering the specific service.

In 2012, Japanese medical 3D printing firm Fasotec was likely one of the first companies to offer the service; in 2014 aptly named 3D Babies burst onto the market with its 3D printed fetus dolls; and since then the trend has been taken up by UK-based Baby:Boo, Wolfprint 3D’s 3D printed “Unborn Baby” service, and many more.

MSYS is the latest company to jump on the trend, transforming images of unborn babies into realistic models 3D printed from an acrylic resin material. By working in collaboration with obstetricians and gynecologists, MSYS is hoping its accurate 3D printed fetus models will appeal to expecting parents as a kind of keepsake.

“We hope that, when a baby has grown bigger, he or she will have an opportunity to look at his or her figurine with parents and look back together to the past with nostalgia,” said an MSYS representative.

Now, I don’t know how many mothers look back on the pregnancy period with nostalgia, but if blurry ultrasound images are a worthwhile memento, we don’t see why a 3D printed fetus model couldn’t be.

The 3D printed models are based on images captured using 3D ultrasonographic technology, which are presumably taken quite late in the pregnancy. The images of the fetus, captured by a doctor, will be shown to the parents who will get to choose which image they will have replicated in 3D.

Once the cutest image has been selected, the file will be sent to MSYS, which will use its 3D printers to build up the baby model layer by layer using an acrylic resin material. According to the company, each 3D printed baby order should be complete within two to three weeks. Costs will reportedly vary.

“I hope people will feel more intimate with their babies and take more joy in this impending major life event called delivery,” commented Masahiro Nishikawa, director of the Nishikawa Ladies Clinic in Osaka’s Abeno Ward, which conceived of the project.

The Nishikawa Ladies Clinic is the first to offer the MSYS 3D printing service, though the company says it will also collaborate with a hospital in Kyushu by the end of this year. Within the next three years, MSYS hopes to be 3D printing 50,000 baby figurines a year for parents.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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