Revealing the Fascinating Process of Human Development

See Baby Grow app video

The See Baby Grow app video depicts embryos and fetuses, alive in the uterus, throughout every stage of pregnancy. These preborn babies have been scanned using embryoscopy and fetoscopy medical imaging technology, as well as high-resolution, research grade sonography. The narration describes developmental anatomy and physiology as it unfolds through all three trimesters of pregnancy.

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About ERF

The Education Resource Fund is a, non-profit, 501(c)3 charity, which facilitates the creation and distribution of a broad range of instructional materials authored and produced by individuals and organizations whose branded and copyrighted projects (domestic and international) advance the state of knowledge in subject areas vital to the public interest.

“The combination of exquisite images and a clear, carefully researched text makes this video an unparalleled resource for all who are interested in the mysteries of life before birth.”

Bruce M. Carlson, M.D., Ph.D.
Director and Research Professor, Institute of Gerontology
University of Michigan
Professor, Cell and Developmental Biology
University of Michigan Medical School

The Biology of Prenatal Development provides an amazing view of human embryonic and fetal development. It would be a great supplement to developmental biology courses at the undergraduate, graduate, and medical school level.”

Deborah J. Andrew, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Department of Cell Biology
Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

The Biology of Prenatal Development is an excellent overview of key features of human embryonic development. It contains amazing video sequences of human embryos combined with helpful animations and very understandable narration. It reveals the mystery of embryonic development without removing the wonder.”

David L. Bolender, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Anatomy
Graduate Faculty, Program in Cell & Developmental Biology
Medical College of Wisconsin

COMING SOON

SeeBabyGrow app

Follow the gestation period of your baby in beautiful detail. Get notified when it launches!

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88 Subtitles - Reaching Billions Across The Globe - Project Language Reach

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THE INTRICATE ORIGINS OF PRENATAL & GLOBAL IMAGERY, FROM ENDOSCOPES TO TELESCOPES

ERF’s embryo and fetus pictures are derived from many smaller images “stitched” together in much the same manner NASA uses to combine satellite photo “tiles” to form a large “mosaic.”

ENDOSCOPES

The Education Resource Fund’s (www.ERF.Science) human embryo and fetus imagery was initially derived by teams of physician researchers and clinicians employing endoscopy (and its subsets, embryoscopy and fetoscopy) to diagnose and treat prenatal disorders in utero. Endoscopes are medical imaging devices which permit the minimally invasive, high resolution observation of tissues inside the human body. At the distal end of these instruments is an objective lens designed for imaging. At the proximal end is an eyepiece, or sensor, which enables viewing.

HOW THEY WORK

These scopes generally consist of a tube which encloses a relay lens system (in rigid endoscopes) or a fiber bundle (for fiber-optic, or flexible, endoscopes) for illumination and to transmit an image from the objective lens inside the body to the proximal end outside.

Said differently, endoscopes use optical elements to direct light to the area sought to be illuminated and transmit the resulting image to the eye or detector. Rigid endoscopes generally offer superior resolution or magnification. But an endoscope’s objective lens is only approximately 1/5 of an inch in diameter, and this relatively small size substantially narrows the observer’s field of view (even with the addition of supplemental lenses such as “negative” or “prism” optics, etc.).

CONSTRAINTS

This limitation is further compounded by the need to use the scope in very confined spaces, with only short distances separating the objective lens from the anatomical structures being imaged. As a consequence, only a small segment of the embryo or fetus is observable at any point along the timeline of the scan. An endoscope’s construction must also accommodate frequently conflicting design considerations. The resulting compromises can involve not only fields of view, but depths of field (meaning thickness of the plane of focus) and image illumination and magnification, as well as distortion issues (i.e., stretched or compressed perspective), etc.

WORK-AROUNDS

So to depict a high quality, single image of the entire embryo or fetus, large numbers of smaller, more detailed pictures must be joined together in a manner suggestive of the process by which puzzle pieces are assembled to form a completed picture.

This technique employs a complex proprietary process which combines segmental scans to create a final composite image. The resulting picture is digitally adjusted to preserve each segment’s original color, resolution, contrast, illumination, etc. Technicians also correct for vignetting (image degradation or loss at the periphery of the frame).

MAGNETIC RESONANCE IMAGING & ULTRASOUND

The British medical journal Lancet has published a prenatal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study involving the creation of 3D pictures to diagnose and treat congenital heart problems afflicting fetuses still in the uterus. The BBC reports that “A series of 2D pictures of the heart are taken from different angles using an MRI machine” to image the fetus.

The story explains that “Sophisticated computer software pieces the images together, adjusts for the beating of the heart and builds … [a] 3D image of the heart.” A pediatric cardiologist describes the resulting 3D images as “beautiful.”

This MRI research is part of a fetal diagnostic project which is also exploring scans using “four ultrasound probes at the same time – current scans use one – to get a more detailed picture.” This process produces a more wholistic composite image.

 

NASA COMPOSITE IMAGERY (SINGLE MEDIUM)

ERF’s imaging process is conceptually similar to the technologies used by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to produce wide-area satellite images of the earth’s surface. Until the launch of the Deep Space Climate Observatory Satellite (DSOVR), which now orbits one million miles from earth, NASA had no camera positioned sufficiently far from earth to capture the globe’s entire sunlit surface in a single photograph. As previously noted, an endoscope’s objective lens must also operate too near to an embryo or fetus to permit its entire anatomy to be imaged in a single frame. This is the same constraint which complicates the capture of satellite imagery. Previous pictures of the earth could, therefore, only be created using digital stitching technology to make one large composite image from smaller segments. Scientists sometimes describe this final image (or “data set”) as a “mosaic,” comprised of many individual tiles.

HYBRID IMAGERY (MULTI-MEDIA)

A satellite picture can also be augmented by aerial photography (cameras on aircraft platforms) to improve resolution. Hybrid images of this sort can be created by superimposing black and white imagery (for still higher resolution) over color pictures of the same area, the latter to optimize chromic (color) fidelity.

The scientific press, for instance, reports that the Landsat Image Mosaic of Antarctica (LIMA) “combined over one thousand precise, calibrated satellite images with other data from the continent’s surface to create a single picture of the entire continent.” The high magnification factor (think telephoto lenses which enlarge image objects) of each of these puzzle pieces yielded a composite picture depicting more detail than would have been visible in a single photo shot with a wide angle lens.

Behind the Scenes of the App Development

Below you see the motion menu chapter thumbnails that will be utilized in the upcoming See Baby Grow app. These chapters also preview video in the feature length video.

Contact ERF

Have a question? Our team is available to make sure you get the answers you need.

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Vancouver, WA 98683

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