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December 25, 2014 AT 1:30 am

3DxChristmas – All I Want for Christmas Is My Brain on My Christmas Tree #3DxMedicine #3DThursday #3DPrinting

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All I Want for Christmas Is My Brain on My Christmas Tree: Doctor 3D prints ornaments of his brain. From 3DPrint.com:

…For one pediatrician at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, named Christopher Kelly, his tree this Christmas will feature ornaments as unique as individual brain wrinkles in each one of our heads. This is because what his tree will be decorated with this holiday season is just that: 3D printed replicas of his own brain. Kelly, who recently started a PhD at the Evelina Children’s Hospital in London, is currently studying brain development of children with congenital heart problems.

To create the unique Christmas ornament, Kelly used an MRI brain scan that was taken while he was a volunteer for a research project, using a 3 Tesla Scanner.  Once scanned, Kelly began the process of turning the date into a 3D printable model of his brain.

“I used one of the ‘T1′ images that was taken,” Kelly tells 3DPrint.com. “This is one of the most commonly used sequences in an MRI scanner, used for medical diagnosis. To get from a 3D image to a 3D model, I used a free package called FreeSurfer to construct a 3D brain model from the T1 scan. This takes around half a day to run on a decent computer. Freesurfer can then export the model of the brain as a STL mesh. [It] inspected the mesh and simplified it a little. I used 3DPrintUK to print the model using their fantastic SLS (selective laser sintering) nylon printer.”

Once the prints were complete, Kelly spray painted them with a silver plastic spray. Now they are ready to be on display for all to see on his Christmas tree. When asked why he decided to create this incredibly unique holiday decoration, Kelly’s response was:

“It was just a slightly random fun thing to do while working in a brain research department, and my wife loves Christmas decorations! It’s had a bit of a mixed reaction – either ‘cool’ or ‘a bit spooky’!”

Kelly has also 3D printed a full size brain, which he says turned out amazing as well. Although it won’t be hanging on his tree, it makes for a great conversation piece and desk ornament….

Read more.

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