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3D Modeling: Futuristic, cool, AND potentially life-saving

According to, surgeons in Louisville, KY recently used 3D modeling to prepare for a complicated heart surgery involving 14-month-old Roland Lian Cung Bawi, pictured below. Read the full article here.


Operations on infants are particularly difficult because the structures of childrens' organs are small and hard to see. Via the facilities at the University of Louisville's engineering school, Surgeon Erle Austin and his team created an enlarged, three-dimensional model of Roland's tiny heart, in order to determine exactly what they were up against. The 3D model led to a successful operation at Kosair Children's Hospital, and the little boy is now expected to lead a normal life. So happy for Roland and his family!

The image below was constructed by combining thousands of cross-sections of X-rays of Roland's heart:

47aad3ad450a336c1a9cea30752cdc5aAustin stated to reporters, "Once I had a model, I knew exactly what I needed to do and how I could do it. It was a tremendous benefit." Roland's story demonstrates the profound power of 3D modeling to impact our lives for the better.

This summer, kids and teens can learn the art and science of 3D Modeling & Animation at iD Tech. View courses.

All images from The Courier-Journal, via

  • Christian

    This is an awesome use of this technology. Something like this would have been nearly impossible 5 years ago, and completely incomprehensible 10 years ago.

    3D printers are still not quite ready for prime time, but it’s looking more and more like they’ll become the next “computers”, in the sense that they go from a novel toy to being nearly ubiquitous in nearly every industry.

    The next decade will certainly be interesting. =)