PreVue: How to watch a baby in utero

A design concept out of the University of New South Wales may never come to fruition, but the stretchable device has just won a design award in Australia.

Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore is based in Portland, Oregon, and has written for Wired, The Christian Science Monitor, and public radio. Her semi-obscure hobbies include climbing, billiards, board games that take up a lot of space, and piano.
Elizabeth Armstrong Moore
2 min read
Melody Shiue

Let's just get right to it: This is not an article about soft porn. Neither is this man trying to eat what appears to be a seafood pasta dish out of his partner's belly.

However ill-conceived this illustration may be, it is an entirely realistic prediction of body positions if the beltlike device around the pregnant woman's belly is actually giving this man a view of an unborn baby.

Called PreVue, the concept gadget comes to us via industrial designer Melody Shiue at the University of New South Wales in Australia, who just won a design award for it.

The device, which is supposed to fit over the pregnant woman's belly, comes with several layers of futuristic techie awesomeness (which is my way of saying I don't understand how it works, and quite possibly neither does Shiue), including an ultrasonic layer against the skin whose image is then viewed through a stretchable electronic textile layer that can actually expand with the belly.

Just press a button and presto, the fetus will be viewable in all its gooey glory.

Because this is just a concept, it's difficult to say if PreVue will actually work, let alone be popular, but health concerns about ultrasound exposure will certainly make the device's path to the marketplace a circuitous one, possibly with a giant stop sign at the end.

In the meantime, we get to enjoy the illustration, marvel at the concept, and then ponder the type of humans we have become who lack the patience to wait until birth to gaze upon the little ones.