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 that adds a touch component to 3D ultrasound technology.
The e-Touch software, developed by Novint Technologies Inc., 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, 27, whose wife is expecting their first child in July. He has already spent many hours touching his son's image.
"It feels a little bit squishy ... similar to skin. You can feel along the surface and feel a little bit of pressure and contour," said Anderson.
Touch technology may have important medical applications. For example, it can help in monitoring a fetus' development.
"If a baby has an anomaly, it might help the parents to know how it is shaped," said Jan Easton Carrasco, president of New Mexico Sonographics.
News source: Yahoo! News