Instead of surprising your parents about your pregnancy by slipping them a 2D ultrasound, you can completely blow their minds with a 3D hologram courtesy of Pioneer's new printing service. It does mean you'll have to head to Japan for your ultrasound, and hide the good news from your family for about seven months, but it sounds totally worth it.

Traditionally, holograms are made by photographing an actual 3D object in a special lighting setup, but Pioneer's new printer can produce a hologram using a 3D digital model instead. A special film from Bayer called Bayfol HX is exposed through a unique process which can recreate the 3D effect of a hologram from an artificial object. In 120 minutes a full-color hologram can be produced, or just 90 minutes if you're content with a single color.

These days hospitals offer 4D ultrasounds that let you see your baby moving in the womb, but on a 2D display, and most of the pictures you end up with make your baby look like Clayface. With Pioneer's service you're left with a bonafide 3D hologram of your child that you can share with anyone, because, of course, everyone is as excited to see that precious little nugget as you are... right? [DigInfo TV]