Wonderful Engineering

Expectant Parents Can Now See Their Unborn Babies Using Virtual Reality

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

We all have become accustomed to hearing the “astonishing” and “groundbreaking” technological advances each day, but what we are going to cover today will truly blow your mind!

Virtual Reality has been a true hit in this decade, and it has now been combined with imaging technologies such as MRI and ultrasound to create a virtual tour inside a uterus and the unborn breeding baby. The VR can be used to produce 3D models of fetuses, which means that not only you can have a look at the apple of your eyes before he/she is born, the sharper and clearer images produced by the technology could also be used to detect and consequently resolve any prenatal complications such as blocked airways and malformations ahead of the delivery.

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

Oculus Rift headsets were used to explore the environment created by researchers from the MRI scans and its environment by Brazil’s Clínica de Diagnóstico por Imagem. The scans, along with the data collected from the ultrasound, such as the heartbeat, is then stitched together to create incredibly lifelike and immersive 3D models featuring the fetus, the womb, umbilical cord and the placenta.

We have already seen a technique creating a 3D printed fetus, which allows the parents to touch their unborn child before he/she is born. But this new technique is truly on another level. The study co-author Heron Werner talked about this,

“The physicians can have access to an immersive experience on the clinical case that they are working on, having the whole internal structure of the fetus in 3-D in order to better visualize and share the morphological information. We believe that these images will help facilitate a multidisciplinary discussion about some pathologies in addition to bringing a new experience for parents when following the development of their unborn child.”

Credit: Radiological Society of North America

The work will be featured for the first time at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America next week.

What are your thoughts on this amazing application of VR? Comment below!