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Future of Virtual Reality: What Pregnancy Feels Like

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Men can gain a better understanding of what women go through during pregnancy by wearing a new device developed by scientists at the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology.

The system is a dress that simulates the weight and heartbeat of the fetus, but its ability to reproduce temperature and movement as well results in simulations that are more realistic than those of existing systems. The dress can replicate the nine-month process in two minutes, and it can be worn over a longer period to experience what it feels like to be pregnant on a day-to-day basis.

The system makes use of a four-liter bag filled with warm water to mimic the fetus, a lining of 45 balloons that expands and contracts to recreate kicking movements, and a grid of air actuators that exploits a tactile illusion to reproduce wiggling. An accelerator and touch sensors are used for interaction. The suit can be connected to a computer to view a three-dimensional model of the fetus that changes to mimic the different stages of pregnancy. The system will be presented at SIGGRAPH 2011 in August.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2011 Information Inc. External Link, Bethesda, Maryland, USA 



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