Japanese company gives birth to souvenir 3-D resin foetus
Expectant parents in Japan who can't wait to show the world what their baby will look like can now buy a 3-D model of the foetus to pass around their friends.
The 9cm resin model of the white foetus, encased in a transparent block in the shape of the mother's body, is fashioned by a 3-D printer after an MRI scan.
"As it is only once in a lifetime that you are pregnant with that child, we received requests for these kind of models from pregnant women who ... do not want to forget the feelings and experience of that time," said Tomohiro Kinoshita, of Fasotec, the company offering the service.
The "Shape of an Angel", which costs about 100,000 yen (HK$9,425), comes with a miniature version that could be a nice adornment to a mobile phone, he added. Many young women in Japan have decorations attached to their cellphone strap.
The company said the ideal time for a scan was around eight or nine months into pregnancy.
For those who want a less pricey version, the company will start offering a 3-D model of the face of the foetus at 50,000 yen.
It will use ultrasound images taken at a medical clinic in Tokyo.
Fasotec, originally a supplier of devices including 3-D printers, uses a layering technique to build three-dimensional structures. The technique has been touted as a solution to localised manufacturing on a small scale.
The company also produces 3-D models of internal organs that can be used by doctors to plan surgery or by medical students for training.
It is also possible that models can be used in hospitals to better inform patients what their problems are, instead of relying on difficult-to-understand diagrams.
Kinoshita said the company hit upon the idea of making 3-D models of unborn babies in the hope that people would become more aware of the technology.
Three-dimensional printers are similar to inkjet printers, but instead of ink they deposit layers of material, gradually building up the product they are making.