By Kathleen Gilbert

LONDON, June 30, 2009 ( – A London art student has developed a revolutionary new step in prenatal imagery that allows parents to hold a life-size model of their unborn baby.

Jorge Lopez, a Brazilian student at the Royal College of Art in London, pioneered the new use of technology to utilize 4D ultrasound images and MRI scans to construct plaster models that can delineate the unique form of each child.

“It’s amazing to see the faces of the mothers. They can see the full scale of their baby, really understand the size of it,” said Lopes.

Stuart Campbell, the head of obstetrics and gynecology at King’s College in London and a pioneer of ultrasound diagnosis in the 1980s, called the breakthrough “a fantastic development” for doctors.

Campbell said he wishes to use the technology as an educational tool for expectant parents and to help mothers who have difficulty bonding with their babies.

Hilary French, the Head of the School of Architecture & Design at the Royal College of Art, noted that the technology, known as rapid prototyping, “can be also be used as an emotional tool for parents whose foetus might be deformed or need treatment.”

The technology is regularly used at the College to construct architectural models, jewelry, and other new devices. The fetal modeling is currently undergoing trial use at a Rio de Janeiro clinic.

The Times reports that Dr. Lopes is currently working on simplifying the software so that doctors can use it independently at any given clinic.