May 16, 2011

New Electronic Cat Ears Interpret Mood

Japanese Scientists have created a new technology that can record brain-waves and interpret them through fashionable headgear, according to a recent Reuters report.

The "Necomimi," which is "cat's ears" in Japanese, can detect and interpret the emotional state of the wearer, expressing it through four distinct movements.

The ears shoot up when the wearer is nervous or focused, but flatten when the person is relaxed.

The ears swirl around in a circular motion during a specific activity like a game or reading a book.  When brain activity is low, they flap gently back and forth.

"When cats are frightened or want to scare away an enemy, they flatten their ears. But with Necomimi, flat ears mean a relaxed state of mind," Kana Nakano at Neurowear, one of Necomimi's creators, said in a statement.

"We have changed the meaning to suit human perceptions. To humans, it's kind of cute when cat ears are flat. So the most difficult bit was to fine tune cat ear movements."

The Necomimi developers say the technology could be adapted as a communication tool for those who may be reclusive or shy around strangers.

However, the device is aimed at the curious and the fashion-conscious for now.

"I find it amusing that cat ears were moving in conjunction with my feelings," Misa Tokuizumi, a dentist, said in a statement.

Neurowear said it plans to launch the device internationally later on this year for several hundred dollars per unit.


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