If your partner is up the duff, and you want to record the pregnancy for posterity, you could keep the ultrasound pictures and even get a cast made of your missus’ extended abdomen. Or, if you live in Japan, you can get a 3D printed foetus.
For a mere ¥100,000 (£764), one Japanese company will squeeze your partner into a MRI machine - a noisy, uncomfortable-for-the-patient piece of medical equipment capable of generating a 3D picture of the body’s interior - for an hour or so.
Using the MRI-generated 3D imagery of body and embryo, the company, computer-aided engineering firm Fasotec, creates data that can drive a 3D printer.
The upshot: a small, plastic, anatomically accurate (if low on resolution) model of your son or daughter, encased, if you wish, in a see-through reproduction of your other half’s ample midriff.
Do they charge extra for twins, we wonder?
Dubbed ‘Form of Angels’, the service is actually something of a PR stunt designed to promote Fasotec’s “bio-texture modelling” business, for which it has high hopes of making big money by connecting medical imaging technology to 3D printing.
The serious side of the technology is the proposed use to patients’ scans to create 3D models which can then aid surgeons by allowing pre-op run-throughs and better planning before surgery takes place. A transparent model of a patient’s liver containing a dark, easy to view from all angles model of the cancer that riddles it is easier for a surgeon to use than a monochrome image on screen, or a series of sections.
Fasotec also sees roles for the technology in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and in dentistry.
And, if it make a bob or two from expectant parents, why not? ®