Tuesday, 23 August 2011

IWantSomeOfThose brainwave-controlled cat ears

Yes, brainwave-controlled cat ears. They're hilarious and I really, really want some. I want to know what happens if I wear them and try to dance. I think they would go up most of the time, and down if I really got into the zone. Or maybe they'd go round and round and round ("concentrating and relaxed"). The awkward sensor would be a problem, but it's possible they'll make it less awkward by the time it goes on retail sale.

They don't actually appear to be on retail sale, even in Japan, so they might remain vapourware for another year, or indefinitely. But there is just so much fun to be had with these.

As far as I can tell, the outer layer is just fake fur, so it should be pretty easy to remove and replace with something better. The clever part, if they've actually done it, is that there's a bit more miniaturisation of the EEG sensor equipment, relative to existing commercial toys, although I'm not sure why more of the bulky electronics aren't hidden inside the ears. A fashion product, no matter how wacky, needs to look better. After doing a little reading, I'm also somewhat sceptical about how far the ears are controlled by real changes in the brain and how responsive they are to random electrical noise in the environment, and also about whether it would work at all on a person who was moving, rather than standing still. But it looks like it should work at least to some degree.

The brand name is "Necomimi" which as far as I can figure out with help from Google Translate, means "cat ears", although there might be a bit more to it, since the characters it comes up with are not the same as those at the top of the video. Fair enough.


francoise_hardy said...

Given the huge palava it takes to set up a normal EEG, I do wonder at the effectiveness of these things. Even something like gritting your teeth is enough to completely override the brainwaves in an EEG. I wouldn't hold your breath for a tango-ready version. Still fascinating.

cindy said...

neko (cat) mimi (ears) ... it's the last four characters that show in the video title above, but these are from the syllabic 'alphabet'? so there's another way to write them as well.

Iain said...

脳波 means brain wave i.e. E.E.G

msHedgehog said...

@Romney I fear you're probably right
@cindy - excellent! I wasn't sure about kanji, hiragana etc - Google gave me various results and I couldn't tell what was what.
@Ian - ahh, so it's a more literal caption.