This article appeared in the August 13, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

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A touching solution: 3D printer brings ultrasounds to visually impaired

Teresa Crawford/AP/File
A doctor performs an ultrasound scan on a pregnant woman at a hospital in Chicago in 2018.

For parents-to-be, the ultrasound is typically a powerful moment: They get a first glimpse of their child. But traditional ultrasound technology doesn’t allow that experience for people who are visually impaired.

So a doctor in Maryland has turned to 3D printing technology for a touching solution. Using specialized ultrasound technology, she was able to print a model of the face of the fetus that the expectant parents could feel. 

In recent years, 3D printing has been used for all kinds of innovations – silly and meaningful alike. People have printed art, musical instruments, prostheses, and even a beak for an injured toucan.

Receiving the 3D printed model was “really emotional,” Taylor Ellis, the mother-to-be, told The Washington Post. “I was a little bit nervous about opening the box,” she said. “I had never seen a 3-D [image], and now, it’s your baby, and it’s, like, wow.”

For Melissa Riccobono, president of the Maryland Parents of Blind Children, who is visually impaired herself, this is an exciting possibility – not just for visually impaired parents.

“For families, instead of having to show them a picture of an ultrasound, how cool it would be for them to get their hands on it, what the baby is like now,” she told the Post. “It’s a really cool way to meet that little being inside of you before you actually meet that little being.”


This article appeared in the August 13, 2020 edition of the Monitor Daily.

Read 08/13 edition
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