Mar 14, 2018 | By Benedict

Russian company Embryo 3D is offering parents-to-be the chance to 3D print their unborn child. Not as a substitute for live birth, of course, but as a synthetic keepsake of their future son or daughter. The weirdest thing? Embryo 3D is just one of several companies doing this.

A 3D printed fetus. A fetus…that has been fabricated with a 3D printer. Despite the sensible motivations for such a thing (no, really), it’s an idea that doesn’t seem to be losing its novelty factor.

3Ders has been writing about 3D printed fetuses for years. Back in 2014, we saw the delightfully named Meet My Bebe fetus from Korea’s 3D Story Corp; by 2016 it was the turn of IN UTERO 3D, and we even wrote a full-length feature about the 3D printed fetus trend that same year.

Two years on, and the strange-sounding trend remains as hot as ever, with 3D printed fetuses never far from the headlines.

Okay, perhaps that’s slightly down to how odd the whole enterprise sounds rather than how many parents-to-be are actually ordering these printed prenatal persons, but these numerous 3D printed fetus specialists wouldn’t keep popping up if there wasn’t some genuine interest behind the hype.

One 3D printed fetus company mentioned a lot these days is Embryo 3D, a slighly mysterious Russian company whose printed offerings supposedly go beyond the usual.

And what is the usual, you ask? Okay, if all this sounds like nonsense to you, the idea behind a 3D printed fetus is to gather ultrasound data for an unborn child, turn that data into a digital 3D model, and then send that model to a 3D printer for a plastic representation of the fetus. It’s a tangible, three-dimensional alternative to your typical ultrasound images, which can be less than totally clear.

Embryo 3D is doing things a bit differently by jazzing up these 3D printed fetuses, so to speak. It’s doing this by offering pregnant women and their partners the chance to buy 3D printed models of their unborn babies adorned with precious metals like gold and silver.

(Images: Ruptly)

Yes, a gold-plated 3D printed fetus can be yours as you anticipate your baby.

But there are more practical applications to 3D printed fetus models too: medical experts say that 3D printed models could help doctors more easily spot abnormalities on unborn babies, helping them quickly diagnose any medical problems that the baby could be suffering from.

This practice can be improved further with VR fetus applications, allowing doctors to pop on an Oculus Rift headset and virtually zoom into the fetus to inspect it.

If you’re not an expecting parent or a doctor, however, you might just want a 3D printed fetus to reenact the final scene of 2001: A Space Odyssey. And there’s nothing wrong with that.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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