Pregnant women are being given the chance to hold life-sized models of their unborn babies, thanks to an invention that converts data from ultrasound and MRI scans.

Jorge Lopes, a Brazilian designer, uses 3-D printing technology to create the plaster models, which went on display last month at an exhibition at the Royal College of Art in London.

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But the invention has already attracted the attention of medical experts.

"For doctors this is a fantastic development and it is absolutely unique," said Stuart Campbell, head of obstetrics and gynecology at King's College London and a pioneer of the use of ultrasound diagnosis in the 1980s.

The technology is being tested at a clinic in Rio de Janeiro.

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

A blind woman registered at the clinic has also volunteered to try out the technology at her next scan.

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