A Japanese company has made Necomimi – its plush mind-reading cat ears – available in the U.S this week.
Using electroencephalography (EEG), the same technology doctors use to detect seizures and measure brain activity, Neurowear has created a pair of plush catlike ears that are supposed to respond to the wearer’s mood drooping when you are lost in thought and perking up when you are concentrating.
The ears, launched at Comic-Con will retail in the U.S. for 99 dollars.
Necomimi were created by a Japanese creative design firm that was exploring how people will communicate in the future.
The firm created a prototype of the ears and posted a video of how they might work in real life on YouTube in March 2011. The video quickly went viral and has been watched more than 2 million times.
“We’ve been working on putting a real product together ever since,” LA Times quoted Tansy Brook, a representative of Neurosky, the company that provided the mind-reading technology, as saying.
The ears require four AAA batteries and have two little motors that help them perk up or droop, depending on the type of brainwaves a person is sending out.
A small sensor that rests on the user’s forehead picks up on the electrical activity at the scalp, and tells the ears what to do accordingly.
If the wearer is relaxed, the ears droop, if the wearer is focused, they should stand straight up, and if the wearer is both relaxed and focused — what Brook and her colleagues call being “in the zone” — the ears wiggle.