27 May 2011
Get Pregnant at SIGGRAPH 2011
Well not literally, but you certainly can experience what it feels like to be pregnant at SIGGRAPH 2011 this August in Vancouver. "Mommy Tummy: A Pregnancy Experience System Simulating Fetal Movement" is one of 23 interactive Emerging Technologies that will be featured at SIGGRAPH.
This interactive system simulates pregnancy through the use of a Mommy Tummy jacket which transmits the fetus’s temperature, movement, and heartbeat. Also, by rubbing the jacket you are able to communicate with the fetus. Within a few minutes, the jacket's weight and size change, simulating fetal growth over nine months. An auxiliary screen displays the condition of both the fetus and the mother in each simulated month with a 3D model of the fetus. The moods and activity of the fetus are displayed in a natural manner to simulate normal fetal development.
There are two types of fetal movement: kicking and wiggling. According to the inventors, achieving a kicking simulation is not as difficult as a wiggling simulation. It was achieved by using a technique inspired by the tactile funneling illusion (PhS) initially discovered by Georg von Bekesy as a type of illusory tactile sensation that arises between two points of simultaneous vibration or electric stimulation. Using PhS, Mommy Tummy simulates a wiggling sensation through continuous, temporally displaced operation of multiple air actuators.
When the user moves violently, the fetus enters a bad mood state and makes intense, jerky movements. Conversely, when the user caresses the abdomen, the fetus enters a good mood state and makes steady movements. Heavy physical exercise is discouraged until a stable period is reached. We wonder if a birth simulation is next up for these researchers - who are listed below.
For a preview video of many of these intriguing Emerging Technologies, click here.
Takayuki Kosaka, Kanagawa Institute of Technology;Takuya Iwamoto,
Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology; Robert Songer,
Kanazawa Technical College; Junichi Akita, Kanazawa University; Hajime Misumi, Kanagawa Institute of Technology