A womb with a view!

Woman's Era - - Short Story -

Chubby cheeks. A cute but­ton nose. Tiny fin­gers and toes. A new­born can melt hearts and turn sane adults into coo­ing, bab­bling fools. Ex­pec­tant par­ents, who can’t wait to feel their baby’s touch soon may be able to preview that sen­sa­tion while the child is still in the womb, thanks to com­puter soft­ware de­vel­oped by a New Mex­ico com­pany in the USA that adds a touch com­po­nent to 3D ul­tra­sound tech­nol­ogy. The e-touch Soft­ware, de­vel­oped by Novint Tech­nolo­gies, a pri­vate Al­bu­querque, New Mex­ico-based com­pany, repli­cates the sen­sa­tion of touch through a spe­cial sty­lus traced over the ul­tra­sound im­age of the un­born child. “The soft­ware also helps en­hance the 3D pic­ture,” said Novint founder Tom An­der­son.

“You can ac­tu­ally see what the baby looks like much more clearly,” said An­der­son. Touch tech­nol­ogy may have im­por­tant med­i­cal ap­pli­ca­tions. For in­stance, it can help in mon­i­tor­ing a foe­tus’ de­vel­op­ment. “If a baby has an anom­aly, it might help the par­ents to know how it is shaped,” said Dr Jan Eas­ton Car­rasco, pres­i­dent, New Mex­ico Son­a­graph­ics. Other uses for the equip­ment could in­clude eval­u­at­ing breast tumours or colon polyps, re­duc­ing sur­gi­cal er­rors by es­sen­tially al­low­ing a doc­tor to prac­tise be­fore per­form­ing an op­er­a­tion, or in the train­ing of med­i­cal res­i­dents.

“The sense of touch is tremen­dously im­por­tant from a sur­gi­cal stand­point,” said Dr Glen­roy Hey­wood, a sur­geon with the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico Hospi­tals who is work­ing to de­velop ap­pli­ca­tions for the soft­ware.

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