Necomimi: brainwave-controlled cat ears

Neurowear's Necomimi are a set of battery-powered cat ears that react to "brainwaves," allowing the wearer to wiggle them. These appear to be similar to products that react to electrical impulses in head muscles, such as Neurosky's "Jedi Trainer" toys and Atari's legendary Mindlink. [via Japan Trends]


  1. Yeah… I found that so disturbing that I had blocked out all memory of it – thanks gwailo!

    On a random note: Are Japanese people forgetting their own rules for romaji? They could always reference the Wiki on the subject:

    The Japanese word for cat is, as the title lists, “ネコ” That’s a NE and a KO. The creators either thought a ‘C’ looked better, or got confused by the online use of ‘コ’ for borrowed english words such as “comment” (コメント). You will see コメント when visiting most Japanese blogs:

    1. Sometimes the letter “C” is used in romanization for branding purposes or to make a word look cuter.
      It took me forever to realize that the word “cocolo” often used in signage and merchandise is actually “kokoro” (heart).

      There are also various romaji systems that differ from the modern standard that English learners of Japanese are taught. For example: many older Japanese people were taught “ta, ti, tu, te, to”, whereas “ta, chi, tsu, te, to” is now taught in order to better represent the phonetic sounds made by “た, ち, つ, て, と”.

    2. Well, Japanese will transcribe words and even their names in whatever way they think looks best or is easiest. Many Japanese aren’t even aware of a consistent transcription system as this is, quite frankly, totally irrelevant in everyday life. The fact that there are two official systems used by the government, Hepburn with its numerous variants and kunrei-shiki, doesn’t make it any easier.

    3. Hello teapot!

      I was wondering the same thing about the neko/neco-thing, but then i saw the stuff is called “neuro communication machine”. Maybe they just took the ne and the co? That, or they just don’t really care that much about correct spelling!

      1. It’s common to either not be sure about the “official” transliteration, or to simply prefer a different one.

        It’s the same thing with native English speakers going the other way – consider all the ways that Qaddafi is spelled in the media!

        However, with Japanese there is a particular effort among native English speakers to conform to a certain standard transliteration scheme. I’m not sure why this is only true with Japanese, but the way that the Japanese sounds so easily translate to specific letter combinations in English obviously has something to do with it. Native Japanese are going to be less aware of this, of course, since they understand the Japanese characters and may barely be able to read the English, much less understand the subtle differences in transliteration.

        With Thai, for example, which I’m much more familiar with, there are multiple common ways to transliterate because the sounds are hard or impossible to accurately write phonetically in English (unlike Japanese). There’s one method that I prefer, but the problems with transliteration become obvious after the first time you try to speak a word to a native Thai speaker (which they almost certainly will not understand if you only learned from a book!)

        If you want a stimulating challenge, try to learn a foreign writing system like Thai, Japanese, Arabic, or whichever one interests you. Some people pick up on it really quickly, but for most people (including me) it’s a major challenge. High-level understanding of one language (English in my case) does not translate at all to a very different language (I could understand German well without too much effort when I was learning that in high school, since it’s from the same root as English, but it’s a much bigger task to understand the very different Thai which I’m learning independently now).

        It’s very rewarding, ultimately, to be able to understand a foreign script rather than relying on transliteration.

  2. I’m SO buying a few sets of those when they are for sale in the US, two for wearing, and a couple for hacking. I’m sure it would be easily modded into a nice swishy kitty tail also :D


  3. Could be a problem if guys start wearing ears that let girls know when they are really listening.

    1. But on the flip side, it’ll save on batteries, since the ears wouldn’t move much at all.

  4. I do this already without the computer headset. Some people can learn to wiggle their ears, and the habit of doing so in a cat-like fashion can be quickly cultivated once the basics have been mastered.

  5. Must have! Must have! If anyone knows where one might be able to order these from the U.S., please post…

  6. I might as well have a set of these… I am incapable of maintaining a poker face.

  7. All I can say is… Moeeeee!!!

    Teapot: This is perhaps the defining moment in BB history when your level of pedanterificiousness has surpassed even mine. Kongratulations!

  8. I so want one of these, well, two, no make that three. Two for myself: one to wear, one to hack. And as for the last, I know a friend of mine that would love these (more as a cosplay accessory, but still…). And yes, when I saw these in motion, I had a moe/ school girl squee moment.

  9. I’d bet my bottom Rouble, that by the weekend we will see the start of the production of Japanese schoolgirl bukkake porn with brainwave-controlled accessories. Surely it’s the next logical step.

  10. Rob, I’m confused; how is the Neurosky stuff a device “that react to electrical impulses in head muscles…” ? I’ve done dev work with the device and it’s a pure EEG signal processor. Sometimes there is artifact noise from the electrical impulses caused by your brain firing muscles, but that mostly gets filtered out. (Blinks are an exception – every blink does fantastically complex stuff to your brainwave patterns… the neurobiology behind that is cool and fills thesis papers).

    The core chip behind the Neurosky (and a few other devices that are licensed from them) costs about USD $5.00, which opens up a whole world of DIY possibilities – I have a few already mated up with Arduinos, waiting for me to get off my lazy butt and start coding against the Roomba API.

    1. costs about USD $5.00, which opens up a whole world of DIY possibilities

      No kidding! I have temporal lobe epilepsy and I ride a bike to work. I would love to know what my EEG is doing from second to second.

  11. Needs stereo separation hearing aids and ability to control each ear independently so the user can isolate sound sources like a real cat.

  12. No one in the video appears able to get much control, which makes me think that if people want these for costumes, there’s probably a better way to get an equally good effect. For example you could use an accelerometer to register sudden head turns and match them with alert ear posture.

  13. I’m waiting until they come out with a model that includes a thought-controlled cat tail.

  14. Thai has an alphabetic script. Why would you even need transliteration after the first week or so?

  15. They should have a bunny ears version! like the ones the playboy bunnies wear! then imagine the ears coming up and down! wakakakaka!

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