The 3D Printing Craze- Anyone for a 3D printed foetus?

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Happy Friday Everyone,

The weekend is here but before we all get into the swing of things I wanted to share with you a debate I have been having with myself, in my own head, as you do, so please indulge me :-). You may or may not have come across technology’s newest advancement in printers, the 3D printer. These printers literally mean you can design something and print a 3D model either in miniature or to scale (if the design fits within the parameters of the printers settings of-course, some things do not change!). All sorts of things are being printed, tea-cups, mini-architectural designs, spoons, key rings and well you get the idea right?

Or, if you live in Japan, you can get a 3D printed foetus. Yep, that’s right, a 3D foetus. A Japanese clinic is offering parents-to-be the chance to hold their baby months before the child leaves the womb. The technology offered by Fasotec and Hiroo Ladies Clinic in Tokyo, Japan, creates a 3D model of the mother’s fetus and womb using a “Bio-Texture” process and MRI scans. The service is interestingly named “Shape of an Angel” and can be yours for a mere £764 or about $1,276 not including the cost of the MRI.  You get a small, plastic, anatomically accurate (if low on resolution) model of your son or daughter, encased, if you wish, in a see-through reproduction of the mothers midriff.

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For the above price, the company will squeeze you or your partner into a MRI machine – a noisy, uncomfortable-for-the-patient piece of medical equipment capable of generating a 3D picture of the body’s interior – for an hour or so. I know you are thinking, that doesn’t sound nice but according to the Fasotec representative Tomohiro Kinoshita, the Japanese women loved it.

“We actually got three expectant mothers to try this out. They said it felt great to see how their babies looked before birth, and to be able to actually hold the inside of their own body,”  He goes on to say “They also enjoyed looking at the model after giving birth, thinking, ‘This is how my baby looked inside me’ and recalling how it felt to be pregnant.”

I am making light of it here but the technology is actually quite amazing. The service is in truth something of a PR stunt designed to promote Fasotec’s “bio-texture modelling” business, for which it has high hopes of making big money by connecting medical imaging technology to 3D printing. Fasotec also sees roles for the technology in plastic and reconstructive surgery, and in dentistry. My younger brother is an orthopaedic surgeon (aka the bone gods) and he thinks this will be the way medical students will learn to become surgeons in the future. Click on the video below to see for yourself. Pretty impressive stuff.

Although I have much respect for the technology and its promise of medical advancement, I just do not know how I feel about having a 3D print out of my foetus, when did a picture of your baby become a thing of the past? and why does this not excite me? Do they charge extra for twins, I wonder? the debate goes on….3D printed shoes however, I’ll take that.

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I love this song and all the shoes in this video, it has been the background song to my internal dialogues this week. Click play and enjoy while you ponder on the possibility of allowing a 3D print out foetus in your life.

Have a great weekend

Eyman

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Science In Art- Antony Gormley and his Model

Hello All,

Firstly, I wanted to say thank you for all the messages off support :-). It means so very much to know that people are enjoying being a part of this experiment (and it’s not failing). I am sorry for the lack of lustre in posts recently and I know I owe you more than this quick post. I’m putting things into place to help up the speed and consistency of my posts for next year. I’m excited.

As it is still hot in the press, I thought I would follow suit and make sure that my fellow geeks knew about the new Antony Gormley exhibition at the White Cube, Bermonsdey London.

Antony Gormley has over the past 30 years explored his art through the human form using sculpture.  His art aims to investigate and explore the body as a place of memory and transformation. “I am interested in the body”, he says, “because it is the place where emotions are most directly registered. When you feel frightened, when you feel excited, happy or depressed somehow the body registers it.”

You may know him as the artist who designed The Angel Of The North.

Or you may remember him from his fourth plinth project ‘One and Other’, where 2400 people from across the UK got to stand on the fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square for an hour at a time. Below is a short video with the man himself explaining that project.

His latest piece is called Model and is created from large sheets of Corten steel. It is a gallery-engulfing, pared down body, laid out on the ground. It is also a building, a series of conjoined stacked boxes. As “investigators” we can walk through it, entering by the bottom of what is described as its left foot (there is no right foot) all the way up-to the head or brain which is a vastness of light and dark shadows.

Gormley regards this piece as the culmination of decades of work, some kind of summary of all that he has been trying to say and do about the relationship between sculpture, architecture and the human form.

Interestingly, it does remind me of Miroslaw Balka’s giant ship’s container in the Turbine Hall of Tate Modern which I recently visited and is also immersive, enveloping, walk-through experiences. Make your way over to the White Cube if you are in London and see what you think of the experience for yourself.

That’s all for now, short and sweet but I hope you enjoyed the read.
Eyman

Sandy Vs Climate Change

New-York City, 2012. Photo by my favourite photographer Yosra El-essawy

Hey Geeks,

Recently, a storm by the name of Sandy wreaked havoc with devastating winds, record flooding, heavy snowfall and mass blackouts. Sandy wiped out homes along the New Jersey shore, submerged parts of New York City, and dumped snow as far south as the Carolinas. At least 50 people were reported killed in the United States, on top of 69 in the Caribbean (Jamaica and Haiti worst affected), while millions of people were left without power (numbers are still rising day by day). My thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.

Sandy, New-York, 2012.

I wrote this post a week ago but decided to wait before posting in-order to allow us all more time to come to terms with the impact off this event. I have been astonished at the lack of climate change debate following this hurricane. I guess I always thought “they will get it when the effects of climate change and/or global warming hit a major western city”. I quote myself here. What’s more concerning is that fact that some scientists say that the key to Sandy’s impact may be an extremely rare clash of weather systems, rather than the warmer temperatures that scientists have identified in other hurricanes and storms.

“It’s a hybrid storm, which combines some features of tropical hurricanes with some features of winter storms, that operate on quite different mechanisms,” said Kerry Emanuel, a professor of Atmospheric Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although Emanuel said that there is a clear link between climate change and general trends toward more intense tropical hurricanes, in the case of Sandy more long-term study is required to determine whether climate change played a major role. I mean, MORE long-term study? how much longer do we need to study this for? are we waiting on three more Sandy’s or 10? when does it become a fact that is taken just as seriously as “the war on terror”?

Sandy, Haiti, 2012.

Most scientists agree that climate change “likely” aggravated the “unique” circumstances that produced Sandy. They go so far as to “include” global warming  as “contributing” by causing ocean temperatures and sea levels to rise.

“Sea level rise makes storm surges worse and will continue to do so in the future,” said Stefan Rahmstorf, professor of physics of the oceans at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Potsdam, Germany. He is also quoted saying that a record thaw of sea ice in the Arctic Ocean in September also might have helped build up high pressure in the North Atlantic that drove Sandy westward.

“I would be very cautious,” he said. “But there is reason to suspect that there could be a connection between the record sea ice loss this summer and the path of this storm.”

The question is why does he have to be cautious? Records show world sea levels have risen by 20 centimetres (8 inches) in the past 100 years, a trend blamed on melting ice and expanding water in the oceans caused by rising temperatures.

Importantly, scientists also note that world temperatures in September this year parallel those in 2005, the year hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, as the warmest in modern records, according to the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Is this not evidence enough off the impacts of global warming?

Sandy, Jamaica, 2012.

The climate change debate has been going on long enough. Yes, we know that the climate was more benign 15 million years ago than it is now. And, yes, very little ice was at the poles with higher sea levels. It was like this 15 million years ago due to the high atmospheric C02 levels at approximately 400 parts per million (ppm) and warmer temperatures. It was those conditions that allowed plants to grow, reducing CO2 levels to 280ppm to just before the industrial revolution and allowed us humans to spread all over the earth. However, post the industrial revolution, seven billion humans burning fossil fuels has increased the C02 levels to 380ppm today. If we don’t take responsibility for this, it is predicted to increase to 600ppm or more in the next century. Ultimately creating atmospheric conditions not seen for more than 50 million years.

Take a moment and really sit with the information above. Hopefully, common sense will tell you that this kind of rapid change to our climate would all but destroy our homes, food production capabilities, populations dynamics and ultimately lead to the collapse of civilisation as we know it. It’s either we re-adapt to storms/hurricanes/drought/famine or begin to think about taking action to drastically reduce C02 levels and/or adapt our way of living to these new weather conditions. Seriously.

This is already happening.

FACT– Warmer temperatures mean that the atmosphere can hold more moisture, bringing more rain in many areas. A U.N. report this year predicted that a higher proportion of the world’s rain would fall in downpours during the 21st century, making floods more likely.

FACT– The latest research suggests that a warming climate will lead to more extreme weather events such as flooding rains and drought. Michael Rawlins,Climate System Research Center at the University of Massachusetts ,Amherst.

FACT– Recent research indicates that greenhouse gases have raised the chances of some events, such as the Texas heatwave of 2011 or a European heatwave in 2003 that killed approximately 70,000 people.

FACT– If all the words above don’t convince you, have a look at the video below shot by Malin Fezehai called Vanishing Nation about the Island nations in the South Pacific.

Vanishing Nation from Malin Fezehai on Vimeo.

As individuals we CAN do something, we can make sure we vote for the right political parties, the ones that have a clear agenda for reducing C02 levels and/or tackling climate change. For example, this article in the Guardian journals an interesting perspective. We can work at reducing our own carbon footprint bit by bit by switching to more energy efficient systems. Every little bit counts, especially those of us in countries that are producing the most C02 as the truth of the matter is It is more our responsibility.

I have purposely not inserted any links within this post to any specific research. There are thousands of articles on-line detailing research both for and against the climate change theory. This is my personal opinion. Let me know what you think? Do you agree or disagree, it always makes for an interesting debate.
Click play whilst you think it over, please think it over.

Thank you for reading and please the knowledge.

Eyman