The video: Japanese researchers have come up with a way to show insensitive men what it's like to be pregnant: the Mommy Tummy 8.0 pregnancy simulator (see a video below). The invention is a vest with a plastic bag in front that fills with warm water, taking its wearer from normal to full term in two minutes (the chest area fills up, too). A tiny vibrator simulates the fetus' heartbeat, and dozens of small balloons in the belly inflate and deflate, so it feels like the "baby" is kicking. The "expectant" dad can watch the computer-simulated fetus on a monitor. Inventor Takayuki Kosaka of the Kanagawa Institute of Technology got the idea watching men refuse to give up their seats to pregnant women on trains and buses. "After witnessing that," he says, "I decided it was time for men to understand the difficulties associated with having a baby."
The reaction: This is both "truly bizarre" and truly awesome, says Linda Sharps at The Stir. "Too bad" it wasn't invented during my first pregnancy — things would have gone a lot smoother if my clueless husband had been strapped into one of these get-ups. Maybe the next version will come with "an optional vaginal delivery add-on." If you can "get past the oddity" of seeing a man looking like he has a bun in the oven, says Elizabeth Armstrong Moore at Cnet, "the Mommy Tummy 8.0 is actually an impressive little (and then rather suddenly big) gadget." Though the guys won't feel hormonal changes and can shed the contraption in an instant, they're bound to get the point. Rarely is such a "hilarious" idea so "well executed." Take a look at some Mommy Tummy-wearing men:
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- Why Pakistan won't hunt down the terrorists within its borders
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Pope Francis' American problem
- Sorry, GOP, tax cuts don't pay for themselves
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- Your weekly streaming recommendation: The One I Love
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- A brief history of the Christmas present
- 10 things you need to know today: December 20, 2014
Subscribe to the Week