Cybernetic prostheses usually replace lost function but in Japan they’re the latest fashion statement, known as Neurowear. It combines technology and fashion to created an “Augumented Human Body.”
Necomimi are cybernetic cat ears that move in sync with your brainwaves to convey emotion. However, the movements are more accurate to the fictional cat girls that populate anime rather than actual cats. “When cats are frightened or want to scare away an enemy, they flatten their ears,” explains Kana Nakano from Neurowear. “But with Necomimi, flat ears mean a relaxed state of mind. So we have changed the meaning to suit human perceptions. To humans, when cat ears flatten, it’s kind of cute.”
The headset is a standalone device, which requires 4 AAA batteries for 4 hours of continuous use. Sensors attach to the forehead and ear to monitor brain activity and respond accordingly by perking up, lying flat, flapping, or rotating. The ears come in white but can be customized with additional styles.
Necomimi will be initially offered for a discount price of 7,900 yen (US $97) at the NicoNico Choukaigi convention from April 28 to 29. The regular price will be 8,980 yen (US $110) and will be sold directly at NicoNico headquarters in Tokyo Harajuku, beginning April 30.
If you can’t wait or you’re strapped for cash, you can always make your own cat ears on the cheap. Youtube user SaxophonePlayerLeah created hers with string that allows each ear to move independently (loli not included but neither are the conspicuous sensors).
Necomimi is the first product line for Neurowear but the company plans to release similar products in the future. A cybernetic cat tail would go great with your cat ears but I shudder to think where the sensor would go.
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