Not everyone is looking for an immediate serious angle with products that make use of neuroscience or brain power. If you want your neuroscience to come with a bit of fun, then the Necomimi Brainwave Cats Ears may be the thing for you. They make use of the trusted NeuroSky technology to bring you ears that, well don’t really do a lot, but do they do enough?.
Ever the sceptic, I’ve researched Necomimi Ears and the information in this post should help you decide if they are a product you should buy.
A New Way To Express Yourself Or Just A Stupid Way?
Sorry to sound so harsh, but it is a bit of a dilemma with this product. Necrowear, are the Japanese company that makes the Necomimi Ears, and they claim they are a new way to express yourself. Neco is the Japanese word for Cat and Mimi means “Ear”, and in case you didn’t know, Cats Ears are popular in Japan.
That may well be so, but the big question I asked when I first saw this video is would I, as in would I walk down a street wearing those Cats Ears? Call me boring, but so far I haven’t found the courage to slip them on and take a trip to the supermarket for my bread and cheese – yet. So when would they ever be worn? If you can answer that question, for you, then you have managed to eliminate what I consider to be the biggest reason to not buy these ears.
As it turns out, I am quite happy to wear them walking down a street, so long as I’m with a group of friends. I’d also wear them in public if they were part of a costume I was wearing to a fancy dress party. I’d also have no problem at a party round my house or one of my friends. In fact that is when they provide the best fun.
Obviously, if you are not as shy as me, then you’d probably not care where or when you would wear them.
What Exactly Do They Do?
The Necomimi Brainwave Cats Ears measure your brain waves and then react according to what it finds going on inside your brain.
There is a button on the side that lights up blue when the ears are switched on. The light will flash when the batteries are low and need changing. When first switched on, one ear is up and the other down, whilst it is calibrating and filtering out the interference around it. This can take between 30 seconda and a minute. Any longer and you probably haven’t put the ears on correctly.
The Necomimi Cats Ears recognise four different brain states.
The ears will droop down slowly for when you are exhibiting a period of High Relaxation such as sleeping.
When you are concentrating and in a state of High Focus, the ears will be sticking straight up.
High Interest will see your ears wiggling a little bit when they are in the high focus position.
The fourth state is what some psychologists call being in the zone. This is when you are between focus and relaxation in a Focus/Relaxation. Not surprisingly the ears will move from one to the other as if they can’t make up their mind – no pun intended.
Other Peoples’ Opinions
My favourite review is from someone called Regina who posted a review here that begins “Okay, here is the latest and dumbest thing on the planet (my opinion of course)”. Now this is a site that has a strap line of “Ghosts, UFOs, Time Travel, Mysterious Places, Conspiracies, Unsolved Crimes”. I was skeptical about Neurowear Necomimi Cats Ears until I read that review. Here is someone who thinks Time Travel is not as stupid as ears controlled by your brain using scientifically proven technology. I think you need a sense of fun to really enjoy these ears, and if you are total/go/neurowear-necomimi/mcta/go/neurowear-necomimi/mctaly serious all the time, then move along and don’t waste any more of your time.
The Gadget Show really like what NeuroSky are doing and featured the Necomimi ears in their “Best of the World” episode as well as having a lot of fun with them at The Gadget Show Live in 2012. They describe it as “the toy sensation of 2012″ and “absolutely plain out there bonkers” yet they have only just been made available in the UK in 2013.
Jill Harness from InventorSpot.com called them “adorable fashion accessories”, she was one of the first people in America to get hold of them at Comic Con “where they were HUGE sellers”. She ends her review by saying “everyone needs a pair of Necomimi Cats Ears”
Both Gizmodo and ThinkGeek gave them the thumbs up to as did many people who can’t help but post a video on YouTube.
Time Magazine even selected the Necomimi Cats Ears as one of the 50 best inventions of 2012.
One thing for sure is that all the reviews I have read (apart from our ghost hunting, time traveller) point to this product being a lot of fun.
What To Watch Out For Before Buying
Everything sounds great so far but there are a few things you should be aware of before you rush out and buy it. Firstly it uses 4 AAA batteries and when they move it can eat them up. You should make sure you have plenty of batteries available for when they go flat.
The battery pack is quite light, but it does feel a little weird wearing the ears until you get use to them. It is all on the left hand side of the head so feels a little unbalanced. I just want you to be aware of it
Although they come with white ears, there are a number of other style ears that you can purchase and I am sure more will come along
The product hasn’t been around that long and was only released in America in 2012 and the UK in 2013. The instructional video at the start of this post has been watched well over 2 million times and tens of thousands of these ears have been sold to date in Japan and the USA.
If you fancy having a bit of fun, and particularly live in the uK and want to be amongst the first of many, then this product is a must. There is a serious side based on Neuroscience behind it and already talk of people who have hacked the ears for other things.