You can test drive a car before buying it, so why not take the same approach to pregnancy? Such is the idea, apparently, behind the "Mommy Tummy" -- a system that gives women (or men) a taste of what it would feel like to have a bun in the oven, even if they haven't received any lovin'. Developed by researchers at Japan's Kanagawa Institute of Technology, this simulator invites users to don a jacket replete with rubber balloons, vibrators, a water bag and other things you'd expect to find in Buffalo Bill's basement. Once strapped on, the jacket's midsection gradually expands as it swells with warm water funneled in from an adjacent tank, resulting in an immaculately conceived baby bump. A compressor, meanwhile, slowly augments the jacket's chest area, while a separate array of balloons rapidly inflate and deflate, thereby mimicking the kicking and side-to-side movements of a real-life fetus. KIRF mothers can monitor their KIRF baby's vital signs on a monitor, though they'll have to pay close attention. Unlike real pregnancies, the Mommy Tummy's gestation period lasts a merciful two minutes, giving your boyfriend just enough time to formulate a coherent response. Must-see video footage after the break.

Update: Turns out our bros at Joystiq got some hands-on time with this bundle of joy at TGS. Check it out.

[Image courtesy of Toutlecine.com]