No matter how many birthing classes they attend or how many baby books they read, men can never truly experience pregnancy, right girls? Wrong! The Mommy Tummy suit simulates the whole nine months of weight gaining, breast enlargement and baby kicking.
Showcased at the SIGGRAPH 2011 interactive technology conference, the Mommy Tummy caused quite a stir among participants after it was announced it’s main function is to allow men to experience pregnancy. Designed by Takayuki Kosaka, from the Kanagawa Institute of Technology, in Atsugi, Japan, the pregnancy simulator looks a lot like the suits you put on when getting dental X-rays, but in reality it’s a lot more complex. It features a number of pouches that fill with liquid and actuators that simulate a kicking baby, in order to offer a faithful pregnancy experience for guys.
Photo credit: Michelle Higa
After a person puts on the suit, the big belly-like pouch starts to fill with liquid simulating the weight of a baby, the smaller pouches on the chest start filling as well, to simulate the breasts filling with milk, while a number of actuators positioned near the belly fire on and off like a baby kicking. Believe it or not, the Mommy Tummy even has sensors that allow the wearer to relieve kicking by rubbing the belly. The above happens in just two minutes, but during lab testing, 80% of the mothers who tried on the suit said it accurately replicates the process of carrying a baby inside you for nine months.
Kosaka and his team hope to deploy their gadget into hospitals and community centers where hopefully it will help men become more emphatic with their partners during birthing classes. The guys will be asked to perform a series of mundane tasks while wearing the Mommy Tummy, in order to make them understand what pregnant women have to go through during the nine months of carrying a real baby.
Mommy Tummy doesn’t (yet) simulate the actual labor or the craving for various food, but Japanese scientists are already working on a remote unit that attaches to the actual pregnant partner, so the future father can experience baby kicking the same time the mother-to-be does. Most men who have tried on the Mommy Tummy said they’re “glad they’re dudes”. I couldn’t have said it better myself.