A womb with a view!
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.