Now Printing: A 3D Model Of Your Fetus

Baby pictures and ultrasounds are so 20th century. Now you can have a sculpture of your pending person.

People love documenting their baby-having process. Photos, videos, ultrasound print outs - these are all part and parcel of the birthing process. Now there's a new item being added to the reperatory: a 3D printing of the fetus itself.

3D printing is one of the most science fiction things about our modern world. You can make physical objects based on digital models, basically a reverse of the standard subtractive model of item building - instead of starting with a big block of something and whittling it down, the 3D printer adds layers and layers of materials (usually polymers) to create the completed object. 

Like a completed fetus encased in a see-through belly. That's what's being offered to expecting parents in a Japanese hospital. Using MRI scans of the pregnant mother, doctors can print a 3D model of the in utero fetus, perfect for weighing down papers, holding pens or possibly use as an ashtray.