NRL News

Japanese company offers 3-D model of unborn child

by | Nov 28, 2012

By Dave Andrusko

First there were ill-defined black and white ultrasounds (I couldn’t make out a single detail of our developing first child), followed by ultrasounds with increasing clarity, followed by color, and then culminating with ultrasounds in “real-time”– a moving video display.

Now, thanks to the work of a Japanese engineering company and a medical clinic, there is what FASOTEC calls the “Shape of an Angel” (Tenshi no Katachi )—a 3Dimensional model of your unborn child using 3D-printing technology.

(The following explanation is derived from stories at and

The process is similar to an ultrasound, but in this case they use MRI scans. The MRI data is converted into a 3D image using a technology called Bio-Texture modeling.


“A 3D printer builds up the three-dimensional image using two different resins [simultaneously] that produce two different colors.” The result “is a scale reproduction of your unborn baby, composed of an opaque white fetus encased in the mother’s clear, colorless abdomen.”

I just learned about the “Shape of an Angel,” but apparently it’s been on the market since late July. As a new technology it’s both pricey—roughly $1,200—and they are still working on image resolution. A less expensive option—a 3D model of the baby’s face—will be available next month at about half the price.

You can watch a fascinating video explaining the creation of the model at

If you like, join those who are following me on Twitter at Please send any  comments to

Categories: Unborn Children