A company has created a set of ears that apparently respond to the wearer’s emotions via a sensor on the forehead. U.S. tech firm Neurosky showed them off this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where another company presented similar technology to control remote controlled helicopters. When the user is sad the ears flop down, if they are concentrating they stand up, wiggle around if the wearer is amused and go flat if they are tired.
Concentration: Cat ears respond to the wearer’s emotions via a sensor attached to her forehead
The firm claims that there is a direct link between what the person is thinking and what the Neocomimi ears do. However, it is hard to tell if they are entirely in control of what is happening. In one, a small boy appears utterly confused as the ears twirl apparently at random above him. Another young girl gazes intently at the camera – without the ears moving at all.
The mind-controlled device shown off at the Las Vegas trade show this week was even more ambitious: a remote controlled helicopter manoeuvred by the mind alone. Like the Neocomimi, the Orbit uses monitors brainwave readings, but in this case to control the height, speed and direction of the miniature flying machine. For those who are unable to immediately access the calm, collected state presumably necessary to control the gadget reliably, the helicopter’s delicate rotors are protected by a spherical cage.
Different moods: When the user is relaxed the ears flop down, if they are concentrating they stand up, wiggle around if the wearer is amused and go flat if they are tired
The Neocomimi works with a headband that goes round the user’s forehead and monitors brain waves. A computer then works out what kind of mood the person is in and changes the angle of the ears with a motor.
The spherical helicopter, designed to be able to withstand being flown into objects, is controlled by a headwaves which can read brainwaves
Both gadgets work with a headband that goes round the user’s forehead and contains an electroencephalogram (EEG) to monitor brain waves. A small computer then works out what kind of mood the person is in and controls the devices accordingly. The technology in both devices was developed by Neurosky, which also offers a range of other EEG equipped products that allow for the mind control of laptops and offer tools for education and medical research.
“We work with people with with ADHD and help people diagnosed with all sorts of diseases like Alzheimer’s and do research projects with all sorts of universities,” Neurosky spokesman said. The company clearly has high hopes for their ears, which have been available since 2011, but even its own promotional video shows the potential pitfalls. In the short film an attractive girl wearing the ears who sees a man she likes walk past – only for her ears to turn up in the air. He walks on by and doesn’t stop – and the ears turn down again. The ears brought a slew of comments from users including one man who claimed cheekily that: “Men have built-in neurowear.” A female poster replied on the same blog: “So do women. You just can’t see ours.”