As part of my second project rotation, I have recently had the opportunity to have my brain scanned at FMRIB, Oxford's functional imaging center. Which is cool. But what to do with the data? Attempt to use it to uncover the cortical areas associated with coffin-like MRI scanners? Turn it into music and upload it to Soundcloud? Obsessively study it in FSL view for any sign of structural abnormality?
Well, I've been looking for an excuse to use the Radcliffe Science Library's 3D printing facilities for some time, and a printed copy of my brain seemed like a pretty neat thing to have. So I followed this chap's tutorial to make the mesh (currently used as the icon for this section, in fact) and sent it over to the tech desk at the RSL.
The partially printed result is shown below (left), showing the honey-comb structure of the interior, and the final result is on the right. Because it was a thing which was possible, I had the white-matter grey-matter interface printed for the right-hand cortex (white), and the pial surface printed for the left-hand cortex (orange). There's a whole bunch of other options generated by the analytical pipeline as well, which could be interesting for the curious neuroscientist to investigate.
It's terribly good value for money - only £13 for the two cortices. Highly reccomended to anyone who happens to have their own MRI scanner and 3D printer.