Honda’s fastest sports car is also its model that sounds closest to a mother’s womb, researchers find.

There are a lot of stuffed animals that make a squeaking noise or play music when hugged, either to excite or soothe the children playing with them. Soon, though, babies in Japan will be able to have special plushies that play the sound of a revving sports car engine.

Japanese toy maker Takara Tomy Arts, auto manufacture Honda, and the Tokyo-based Society for Harmonic Science (also known as the Sound Healing Society) have pooled their knowledge and talents to develop the Baby Smile Honda Sound Sitter. From the outside, it looks like a soft, super-deformed version of a jaunty retro coupe, but there’s a secret inside in the form of a sound unit that plays actual engine sounds recorded from one of Honda’s flagship vehicles.

But why make a car plushie that realistically sounds the part? Well, as anyone who has a baby and a car will tell you, there are times when even the fussiest kid will settle down and drift off into happy slumber if you put them in a car seat and go for a drive. Honda wanted to know more about why this happens, and one explanation they found, while working with the Society for Harmonic Science, is that to a baby’s ears, the sounds of a car engine are similar to the sounds they heard inside their mother’s womb.

▼ Preview video for the Baby Smile Honda Sound Sitter, featuring the sound the plushie makes

The Society for Harmonic Science then examined roughly 30 different Honda engines, analyzing their frequencies to see which most resembled the sounds heard in the womb. While you might expect a sensible family sedan to be the closest proximity, the researchers instead found that the second-generation NSX, Honda’s high-performance, mid-engine sports car (specifically the 2018 model) is the most womb-like.

▼ Mommy?

When the front of the plushie is pressed, the sounds of the NSX revving play for 45 seconds (but a second press will quiet it sooner). Initially, the designers considered fitting the plushie with some sort of external speaker to make the sound more noticeable. Ultimately, though, they opted for an internal unit, to more closely replicate the acoustics of an engine.

Though the Sound Sitter sounds like an NSX, it looks like the S600 Coupe, a hardtop variant of the S600 roadster which Honda built in 1965 and 1966. The S600 was chosen because of its smooth lines, which make the plushie cuddly, cute, and unlikely to roll over.

The designers hope that the Sound Sitter will help comfort kids when they get fussy, making it easier and more enjoyable for families to go on outings with each other (ostensibly in their full-sized, non-plushie car). It goes on sale October 25, priced at 8,250 yen (US$61) and is scheduled to be available through the Takara Tomy online store.

Related: Takara Tomy online store
Source: PR Times

Top image: Takara Tomy Arts
Insert images: PR Times, Wikipedia/MB-one
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