They Are 3D Printing Embyros Now, Apparently

By on March 15th, 2018 in Usage

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 3D printed human embryo replicas
3D printed human embryo replicas

I’m reading a puzzling story on UK’s Daily Mirror that describes a company 3D printing embryo replicas.

This has been attempted in the past, so long ago I cannot find the story we surely wrote about it at the time. 

The general process is to somehow obtain the 3D scan file from a medical scan of a pregnancy, transform it into a usable solid 3D model and then print it. 

That appears to be the case here, although the process is not fully described. It’s being undertaken by a Russian company, 3D Embryo, for which I cannot find any significant information. 

 Closeup detail of a 3D printed human embryo
Closeup detail of a 3D printed human embryo

However, a reading through the confusing story suggests that they’re using an ultrasound device to obtain the 3D scan data. This is likely from a standard medical ultrasound unit and thus the output data is provided in DICOM format, a file format not very compatible with 3D printing. 

It seems the company has figured out a way to easily convert the acquired DICOM data into a more usable 3D model format, but there’s more. 

The printed 3D models you see here appear quite detailed and rather smooth. This does not jive with the typically coarse and poor resolution ultrasound captures I’ve seen. 

 Note the smooth surface on this 3D printed embryo model
Note the smooth surface on this 3D printed embryo model

Therefore it is highly likely they’re able to do some fancy transformations on the DICOM data to produce these relatively detailed 3D models. I’m not sure how they did this, but it certainly is not this: 

Researchers in Brazil used the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset to transform MRI and ultrasound data into a life-like model of a foetus.

(And why are Brazilian researchers working on a Russian company’s project?)

This all seems quite mysterious – and perhaps not even for real. But if so, I am quite interested to find out more about how the company transformed rough data into such a clean 3D model. 

Via Daily Mirror

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!