It has been said that the Japanese don’t always wear their hearts on their sleeves and it can be particularly hard to judge their emotions. Step in the team from “neurowear” who have developed a product called “necomimi” which takes brain signals from our emotions and turns them into visible actions rendering them in the form of wiggling cat ears.
Advertising it as a new communication tool that “augments the human body and ability”, the website introduces the product as a fashion item and gadget that uses brainwaves and other biosensors. Designed obviously for the cutesy Japanese market with its cat ear shape (neco and mimi being the words for cat and ear) the ears mimic a cat’s ears as they wiggle and rise with the wearers emotional state, for example rising in anticipation of eating a delicious cookie, or drop down when relaxed.
The product, although at present a bit of a commercial gimmick, could actually be used for a number of other functions. For example, to help allow mentally disabled people show their feelings and easing frustrations within those who are verbally challenged. This kind of technology that doesn’t require too many intrusive components could certainly help in treatment by non verbally demonstrating wearers emotions, particularly in children. The same technology could also be used within other applications. Embedded in a hard hat for example the same brain signal monitor could be worn for workers involved in particularly demanding tasks requiring constant concentration. This kind of new technology aimed at health and wellbeing is a particularly growing market in Japan with its increasing greying society.
The product was on display at Omotesando Hills in the “Smile Bazar” where customers could try it on for themselves.
This is the first product from the “neurowear” company but they have already stated their intention to release more products soon, and if you watch the youtube video it does hint at a follow up with a strange bluetooth like device the passing man is wearing on his ear.