Tokyo Make Meeting 06: Mommy Tummy lets you be Mr. Mom for a day
One of the more popular exhibits at Tokyo Make Meeting this past weekend was Mommy Tummy, a pregnancy experience simulation system developed by Kosaka Laboratory of Kanazawa Technical College. It allows men (and others who have never carried a child) to not just feel what it's like to be pregnant, but to also gradually experience the changes. The Mommy Tummy suit is pumped full of water, and the onscreen display updates you as to how far along your pregnancy has progressed. The man's breasts will get bigger as well – did I just write that? – via a pair of inflatable balloons on the front.
Besides the weight gain, the wearer can also feel the baby's temperature via a water heater. The baby's movements are simulated using air actuators inside the suit. How active the baby is depends on its mood, which is in turn dependent on how you touch your Mommy Tummy suit. If you caress it gently, your baby's mood will be good. Treat it roughly, and the baby will become upset. The mood is displayed onscreen as well, along with the increasing weight.
Already the Mommy Tummy system has won a number of awards in international and domestic competitions. Pregnancy suits are not a new idea, but the fact that the folks at Kosaka Labs went to such great lengths to simulate weight, temperature, baby movement, and even a baby's mood – that's what makes this suit so remarkable.
The intended purpose of the Mommy Tummy is to give men an opportunity to understand what their spouse has to endure on the way to parenthood. In the video below, you can see one courageous volunteer who tried out the simulator while his wife and kids stood off to the side enjoying the show.
His baby turned out to be a girl, at which point he was given a memento photograph to take home to remember his short two-minute pregnancy. I've tried not to film his face, as he likely doesn't want his unexpected pregnancy publicized! There is also a fun promo video of Mommy Tummy on YouTube which I recommend you check out.