Published on October 23rd, 2012 | by Kira0
Necomimi: Taking Cat Ears To A New Level
I am the kind of girl who wears cat ears wherever I go. Even some of my outerwear comes complete with ears, including a favorite hat that is inseparable from me once winter comes. Thus, anytime there is a new product that comes with ears, my… well, I perk up.
So, when the rumors of the Necomimi Brainwave Controlled Cat Ears started, many friends who knew about my quirky fashion sense let me know about them. With my background in neuroscience, these seemed like a pretty perfect fit. To say the least, when I found out that NeuroSky was sending us a pair of these recently-released adorable gadgets, I was excited to try them out. In fact, pretty much the entire staff of TrulyNet got a chance to take turns wearing them when we visited Maker Faire.
As advertised, they look completely precious, and seem to be somewhat responsive to one’s emotions. They have four main emotions: alert (ears up), relaxed (ears down), relaxed but somewhat engaged (one ear up, one ear down), and excited (ears wiggling). This works pretty similarly to the Myndplay I reviewed a few months ago. The EEG is not a perfect detector of your actual emotion or what you are thinking. It seems to respond more to how much you are thinking. We also found that after a little while of wearing them, they would tend to go a bit crazy, wiggling like they had a mind of their own, a bit noisily.
The reason why many people (and, frankly, mostly women) are so excited is because they are absolutely adorable. Big fluffy ears that move! How can you go wrong? The ears are removable, which is great because you can switch them out for other colored ears (with more options on the way). The white ears are very cute, but the black ones suit me much better.
While the ears are super delectable the rest of the headpiece is a bit much. There is a huge battery pack (the Necomimis require four AA batteries, not included) that you cannot hide easily and that is a bit awkward. Just like with the Myndplay, there is a sensor that has to rest on the skin of your forehead and another that is clipped to your ear. These are perfectly fine to have while you are are sitting at home playing games, but out and about, the head piece is a bit heavy and even uncomfortable. All the extra parts are impossible to hide if you have short hair or blond hair. I am lucky enough to have a small head so these fit fairly well, but I could see someone with a larger head having issues. I found myself not wanting to wear the ears for a prolonged period of time, as they tended to cause mild headaches.
Overall, the Necomimi Brainwave Controlled Cat Ears are a great idea. They’re cute, fun, and definitely grab attention, but I am confident that in time they’ll improve a bit, with a better headpiece, more comfortable and inconspicuous. Knowing how much money people put into their fashion at comic or anime conventions, $100 seems very reasonable for an accessory, especially one that is responsively robotic.