Doctor Uses 3D Printing To Help Blind Parents "Feel" Baby’s Ultrasound

One of the problems facing parents who are blind is the inability to see the ultrasound of their baby. That’s why Dr. Heron Werner, a gynecologist and obstetrician in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, began using a 3D printer to make lifelike models from images obtained by an ultrasound machine. One of the first couples to benefit from the new technology was Ana Paula and Alvaro Zermiani, who are both blind. Their son Davi was strong and healthy, but there was no way they could see the first grainy images of their baby on the ultrasound monitor. “Thanks to the exams and printing, we were able to not only know that our baby was growing healthy, but also to have a very real contact and establish a very strong involvement with our son,” said Ana Paula. The ultrasound machine, called Voluson E10, is also the first ultrasound system in the OB/GYN field with built-in 3D capability. Doctors can use it to help parents better understand congenital defects such as cleft lips, abnormal extremities or abdominal wall defects, and can enhance discussions about surgical planning.