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3D printing makes its way into our daily lives more and more each day. As the 3D printing technology develops in various fields, there is now an entire village built by a single 3D printer. There even is a 3D-printed prosthetic eye that will be received by a British patient, or 3D-printed marbled Wagyu beef manufactured by scientists from Osaka University.

The technology is also used in cancer treatment, as the researchers from Tel Aviv University (TAU) have 3D printed an active glioblastoma tumor in a brain-like environment further study and improve treatment methods.

There is also a novel assisted suicide pod, just legalized in Switzerland, which is also 3D printed. 

3D printing is the construction of a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design (CAD) model, with additive or additive layer manufacturing (AM) by adding layers on top of each other using a variety of materials such as plastics, liquids, or powder grains. 

The seven main categories of additive manufacturing technologies are vat photopolymerization, material extrusion, material jetting, binder jetting, powder bed fusion, direct energy deposition, and sheet lamination.

Now, Paul Gradl, a senior propulsion engineer from NASA, has made a medical innovation by using 3D structured light scanning and CAD modeling to compare the different stages of his wife’s pregnancy. 3D structured light scanning is a method that uses projected light patterns and a camera system to measure three-dimensional shapes of objects.

“I admit to being a manufacturing technology enthusiast. One technology we use regularly for additive manufacturing and traditional component manufacturing is 3D structured light scanning to compare during different stages of processing or to the CAD model. During the pregnancy of our first child, I 3D scanned my wife every 5-6 weeks and the compiled results were really fantastic (and certainly the end result).” wrote Gradl, before thanking his wife for her patience, in a Linkedin post.

Gradl explained his process by telling he had his wife stand in the same spot for each scan and used a wall as an alignment plane, in the post’s comments section. 

But that’s not all. There have been other instances where technology was used for baby scanning during pregnancies. Another good example is Jeff Neasham, an electronic engineering lecturer from Newcastle University who has developed a low-cost baby scanner that can be plugged into any computer or laptop to reveal vital information about an unborn child.

Would you try something similar? 

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