When we first heard about the Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears from Neurowear, we thought they were a total gimmick. How could a toy actually tell the world how you're feeling--in real-time--by reading your brainwaves? Boy, were we wrong. Not only do these $99 ears work, they're hilarious.
From the people who brought you the MindWave headset, NeuroSky says the Necomimi was designed to be worn on fun occasions, whether it's at a party, on Halloween or getting ready for a day at comic con. Sure, you can wear it to a tailgating party like the company suggests -- but you might get a beer or two tossed your way. Within seconds of opening the box our entire office was laughing and lining up to try them on.
Necomimi came in 2 parts, the headband with the battery pack and the sensors, and the fuzzy ears. You will need to purchase 4 AAA batteries for the device. The fuzzy ears are made of stiff foam material that grips to the nubs on the headband, and we never feared that the ears would randomly flop off.
The headband offsets most of the weight of the battery pack, and we were able to wear it comfortably for about 5 hours. After putting the headband on, we placed the front sensor flat against our forehead and clipped the second sensor to our earlobe. The clip is not uncomfortable, much like a clip-on earring.
After connecting the sensors, the ears take about 30 seconds to calibrate. During that time, one ear will perk up while the other one will droop. We were not sure what to expect. From the “Let’s get started” chart, we know what both ears are supposed to droop down when you're highly relaxed and move up and down when you're in between focus and relaxation. In addition, the ears will perk up quickly when you're highly focused and perk up and wiggle when you have a high level of interest in something.
When we would take deep breaths and go into a yoga mindset, the Necomimi ears actually drooped down slowly like the instructions promised. We were also able to reproduce the other motions by jumping out behind a wall to surprise co-workers, watching videos of kittens, and having our editor ask us to turn something in by noon. When we tried to make the ears move in a certain way, most of the time it worked. Others who tried the ears didn't have as much success, but we suspect it's because they're less in touch with their emotions.
They're not for everyone, but the amount of fun we had playing with the Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears justify the $99 price. The joy of looking at a co-worker furiously typing away with white fuzzy cat ears wiggling up and down is simply priceless.