A gadget to "translate" barking dogs for humans, a "babypod" that plays music inside the mother's vagina for unborn babies and the world's first self-colonoscopy method were among the crazy inventions on display on Friday in a new Tokyo exhibition.
The museum celebrates strange and wonderful inventions created by true scientists for the Ig Nobel Prize – or "anti-Nobel" – designed to make people "laugh first and think later".
The Japanese doctor Akira Horiuchi, 57, was among the winners of the last week of the ironic prize organized by the satirical scientific journal "Annals of Improbable Research", for her do-it-yourself colonoscopy.
Horiuchi demonstrated his technique at AFP at the museum from his 2006 study "Colonscopy in sitting position: lessons learned from autocolonoscopy".
The researcher said he had never found his embarrassing method.
"I knew the importance of colonoscopy and the number of patients with colon cancer was increasing," Horiuchi told AFP.
The latest research shows that colon cancer is the most widespread form of the disease among 870,000 cancer patients in Japan, according to the National Cancer Center.
"Not many people did the test … so I wanted to create an exam that could be accepted by everyone," Horiuchi said.
Another exhibit was the "Bowlingual" language interpreter, which classifies the barking into six emotional categories: frustration, threat, joy, sadness, desire and self-expression.
The babypod is a speaker inserted into the vagina that creates a "concert" for unborn babies, after research has shown that it was more effective than music on the stomach.
Japanese researchers have won Ig Nobel prizes for 12 consecutive years. The winners include a team that developed Bowlingual and researchers who discovered female insects with a penis.
The founder of the Marc Abrahams award told reporters in Tokyo on Friday that Japan had so many winners because they were "many eccentric people" in the country.
"In most of the world, when people behave in very eccentric ways, this is considered a very bad thing."
"In Japan and also in the United Kingdom, it's different," Abrahams said.
"Do not kill your eccentrics, you love them," he said, adding that this is why Japan and the United Kingdom have long "invented so many intelligent, crazy and wonderful things".
Horiuchi is on agreement.
"I thought I was an eccentric, but now I know there are a lot of people like me in Japan."
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