Amidst the rapidly-expanding group of people who have come to be the audience of the digital media industry there is now a growing subculture; a niche market of sorts filling select screening rooms throughout the highly developed world. This anxious group of mostly couples are waiting to view one piece of content: live 3D coverage of their unborn child as it resides in its womb.
3D baby ultrasounds are not new technology by any means, but they are a currently seeing a surge in popularity. The Vancouver Sun reports that in Vancouver alone there are five 3D ultrasound clinics, out of seven in the province, seeing anywhere from six to eight clients per day, booked weeks in advance. A session, costing from $150 to $300, gets you the chance to see clear as day the body of your unborn child. Face; features; expressions; tiny little fingers; the pictures are stunning.
the technology behind 3D ultrasounds was first developed by Olaf von Ramm and Stephen Smith at Duke University in 1987. It arrived in BC in 1995 with the opening of UC Baby in Langley’s Walnut Grove, but it is really just heating up in recent years. And why wouldn’t it? We all seem to be riding a rising massive swelling wave of digital video content; in a time where we’re producing such vast works of digital video and computer generated art, it is only natural for us to look for solace in 3D digital renderings of our own offspring. And the graphics just keep getting better.
“Ew! it looks like Kuato from Total Recall!” was the response I got from a friend of mine the other day when I showed her this picture of a 3D baby ultrasound — it does have a funny little clay alien man look to it. My first thought was that it looked utterly amazing.
But 3D baby ultrasound is controversial. Health Canada and the Canadian Society of Diagnostic Medical Sonographers recommend parents do not expose their unborn babies to fetal ultrasounds unnecessarily; a practice also discouraged by the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine. Meanwhile supporters note that there are many positive results that can come from the experience, even to the effect of improving the behaviour and emotional state of the parents. And of course you can have the magic preserved in images on a CD, a live DVD, or printed to savour for a lifetime.
What’s it like to grow up having this strange 3D cartoon picture of yourself in the womb!?
Photograph by: Som Visao Spa