Futuristic Autopsy Techniques Just A Mouse-Click Away

With Halloween just gone, this news item seemed appropriately ghoulish for the time of year. 3D printing technology is now set to enter the world of human autopsy!

Malaysian-based company, iGene, have donated lab equipment worth £1.5 million to the Public & Forensic Mortuary in Bradford, UK. A new laboratory is planned where 3D scanning technology will be used to perform digital autopsies replacing the traditional invasive procedures which have been used across the world for decades.

It’s anticipated that the new lab will handle up to 70% of post mortem examinations. This groundbreaking facility, complete with a cutting edge digital autopsy scanner, will be housed in an extension to the existing Forensic Science Centre and should be open for business in the spring of next year.

The new technology is being warmly welcomed by local Muslim and Jewish communities. Both religions traditionally lay their deceased loved ones to rest quickly and the delays caused by hospital and mortuary procedures in the release of bodies for burial can cause unnecessary stress and worry to grieving relatives at an already difficult time.

Bradford City Council’s Muslim deputy leader, Imran Hassain, has been calling for procedural changes for several years and is delighted with the news of the new lab and its 3D technology. “Bradford should be very proud of the pioneering role it’s playing in making this new lab a reality.” he told reporters in a recent interview.

Similar 3D printing technology has been used in the US to identify the remains of American military personnel officially reported as missing in action as a result of war. A process called skull photographic superimposition is used. Skulls are first scanned and printed using the ProJet 3D printer, then photographs of MIA soldiers are superimposed on top. The result is then used in conjunction with DNA profiles and dental records to try and identify the person. The process has proved successful and the remains of a significant number of fallen soldiers are identified each month bringing comfort and closure to relatives and loved ones of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the defence of their country.

Image: Flickr

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Alison Page

About Alison Page

Alison is a small business owner, freelance writer, author and dressage judge. She has degrees in Equine Science and Business Studies.