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New tech allows parents to hold a 3D printed version of their unborn baby

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US surgeons have developed new 3D printing technology to assist with procedures to correct birth defects in the womb

One hospital in Florida is working with 3D printing developers to create new technology to revolutionise the future of pre-natal care. It aims to make fetal surgery more effective and safer for both the mother and unborn child. The technology allows surgeons to create a detailed 3D rendering of the unborn child to study before surgery.

Surgeons use MRI ultrasound imaging and the 3D printing tech to reduce potential risks in procedures. The hospital says the technology also allows surgeons to plan procedures ahead of time and plan for anticipated obstacles.

Samer Elbabaa is a pediatric neurosurgeon at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. He shows expecting parents Jocelyn and Jared Rodriguez a 3D-printed model of their developing baby.

The technology could prevent the unborn child from developing neurological disabilities, such as an inability to walk

The hospital is trialling using the tech to plan for in-utero surgery to repair spinal defects. The defects can lead to neurological disabilities, such as being unable to walk.

Samer Elbabaa, MD is the medical director of paediatric neurosurgery at Orlando Health, the hospital that developed the technology. She says the tech is “extremely valuable” in cases where defects can’t actually be seen ahead of surgery.

Jack Stubbs is the president and CEO of Digital Anatomy Simulations for Healthcare. Here, he prepares a 3D model of a fetus using MRI and ultrasound imaging. The printed model will give surgeons a life-size representation they can use to prepare for surgery.

Helping surgeons to identify and analyse potential issues before the baby is even born

“The 3D reconstruction of the fetus can really educate the surgeon on the real-life shape, size and location of the spinal lesion,” she said.

DASH President and CEO Jack Stubbs says the the fetal models will help surgeons plan for procedures. It will also help “reduce the duration of the surgery to limit the developing baby’s exposure,” he said.

Jocelyn and Jared Rodriguez look at an ultrasound of their baby. Orlando Health surgeons used this imaging to create a 3D printed replica of the baby. They used the model to prepare for a complicated procedure to treat the baby’s spinal defect.

“It’s a level of detail that we are not able to see in traditional imaging”

The technology works by enhancing MRI and ultrasound images taken throughout the pregnancy with more accurate 3D details.

These images are then printed as a high-res model using multiple colours and materials. This also allows surgeons to see extra details like skeletal structure, nerves, veins and other issues indicative of spinal abnormalities.

“We are able to create models that are extremely realistic,” said Stubbs. They do this by using a stack of two-dimensional images taken throughout the pregnancy and enhancing them to reconstruct a more accurate visualisation of the fetus.

Dr. Samer Elbabaa is a paediatric neurosurgeon at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Here he holds 3D printed models of two fetuses. These models allow surgeons to review, visualise and prepare for a complex procedure.

The 3D-printed models will give both surgeons and parents a clearer picture for what to expect during fetal surgery

The technology will also help surgeons explain the baby’s condition and potential treatment options to parents. For first-time parents Jared and Jocelyn Rodriguez, it made them more confident about moving forward with surgery.

“We could see the brain and the spine. I looked down at it and thought, ‘I’m holding my daughter right now? That’s pretty awesome.’”

The Rodriguezes say they’re glad this technological development will help give their future daughter the possibility of a healthier future.

Jocelyn and Jared Rodriguez take a walk at a park near their Central Florida home. Jocelyn and her unborn child underwent in-utero surgery to treat her baby’s spina bifida.

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  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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Tech

Lilium takes to Brazillian skies after signing $1 billion deal with Azul

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German electric jet start-up company Lilium announced on Monday that it will be entering a $1 billion commercial deal with Brazilian airline Azul.

Lilium takes to Brazilian skies

The partnership will see 220 of Lilium’s jets, which are designed to take off and land vertically, in Brazillian skies within the next five years.

The initiative is part of a new electric vehicle take off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft network which could radically change high speed regional travel for the country.

Daniel Wiegand, Co-Founder and CEO of Lilium says the partnership will bring further success to the Brazilian aircraft company.

“Azul has brought convenient and affordable air travel to underserved markets across the Americas and this makes them an ideal partner for Lilium,” says Wiegand.

“We’re excited to work with Azul’s seasoned team to deploy a co-branded eVTOL network in Brazil.”

The seven-seater jets are expected to cost $4.5 million to produce, according to CNBC who spoke with Alex Asseily, Lilium’s chief strategy officer. 

Additionally, they’re expected to reach speeds of 175 miles an hour, while covering a 155 mile range.

Lilium seven-seater passenger jets to transform travel

Brazil is home to one of the world’s leading civilian helicopter and business aviation markets that sees close to 100 million domestic passengers annually.

Because of this, John Rodgerson, CEO of Azul, says they have the full potential to implement the eVTOL market in the country as the demand for it exists. 

“Our brand presence, our unique route network, and our powerful loyalty program give us the tools to create the markets and demand for the Lilium Jet network in Brazil,” Rodgerson says.

“As we did in the Brazilian domestic market over the last 13 years, we look forward to again, now with the Lilium Jet, working to create a whole new market in the years to come.”

Since Azul’s founding in 2008, Chairman David Neeleman says the Brazilian Aviation market has since doubled with the company, capturing almost 60 percent of the growth. 

“We know how to create and grow new markets, and once again we see a huge market opportunity by bringing the Lilium Jet to Brazil.”

 

Written by Rebecca Borg

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Business

Which tech giant does Elon Musk have his sights set on as a future CEO?

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk will release an autobiography later this year, and one of the stories apparently indicates he wants a new job

Elon Musk is set to release his own book later this year. The autobiography will document his time as the head of Tesla, as well as some insights into his personal life.

One of the featured stories in the book reportedly will be about how Musk wants to one day take over the stop spot at Apple.

Last month Musk said he hates running Tesla, and would much prefer to spend his time designing and engineering.

Elon Musk doesn’t want to be CEO of Tesla

This comes after Tesla’s billionaire founder spoke at the start of a trial last month. The firm’s board members accused him of pressuring them into a multi billion dollar deal to buy a solar panel firm.

During the court hearings, Musk said he’d much rather be in a design capacity at Tesla compared to running the company.

He’s also denied exerting pressure on board members, saying that the deal was part of a “master plan” to create affordable vehicles with green power supplies.

Shareholders want Musk to repay Tesla the $2.6bn in full.

If they are successful, it would be one of the largest ever judgements against an individual.

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Amazon slammed with record-breaking fines over privacy concerns

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The EU has ruled that Amazon may be infringing its 300 million users’ right to privacy

The European Union is fining Amazon $888 million for violating its data protection rules.

CNPD is the EU’s lead privacy watchdog. It accused Amazon of “processing personal data in violation of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation”.

The online retail giant lashed back, saying they findings are “without merit”.

Amazon says there has been “no data breach”

“There has been no data breach, and no customer data has been exposed to any third party,” Amazon said in a statement.

“These facts are undisputed. We strongly disagree with the CNPD’s ruling.”

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Data and privacy concerns

This comes after years of criticism for Amazon over data privacy concerns. The company says it collects data to ‘improve the customer experience’, but some regulators remain concerned.

Lawmakers say that this data trove may give the online retail giant an unfair advantage in the market.

EU privacy watchdog cracks down on US tech giants

Amazon isn’t the only US-based tech giant facing these criticisms. This comes after an ongoing EU investigation into American tech giants.

The investigation is also looking into Microsoft. Particularly, the use of Microsoft 360 to transfer data.

Authors

  • Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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