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Necomimi cat ears' creators branch out into brain-controlled headphones (video)

Brian Heater
March 10, 2013
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While we've always thought that brain-controlled cat ears are a perfectly viable business model, it's usually in a company's best interest to diversify, in case, you know, the bottom ever drops out of the furry accessory market. Neurowear, the company behind the Necomimi, which provided some of the more memorable moments at this year's CES, showed off its latest project, the Mico, which continues the company's core competency of letting people do stuff with mind waves. In this case, it's music control. A big white pair of headphones are connected to a sensor that rests on your forehead and a dangling clip for your earlobe (a la the Necomimi).

The cans connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, using your current mood to select a song from the company's app, which currently contains about 100 tracks. According to the company, the songs have been "neuro-tagged," based on its testing, to ensure that they match up to perceived mood. If your mood changes, just give the phone a shake and it will clean the musical slate Etch-a-Sketch-style.

Gallery: Neurowear Mico brain wave-sensing headphones hands-on | 16 Photos

We tried the headphones on (gently -- there are only two sets in the world right now, according to the company). We can't really say how well they worked -- songs were chosen after it determined that our mood was "focused," but it's hard to say if the whole thing is just kind of a crapshoot. The headphones are still in the early prototype stage -- there's a big battery pack and a 3D-printed module for controlling the red LEDs on the side of the ears. Asked if we might ever see such a thing on the market, Mico's inventor told us they were coming in "the near future," whatever that might mean.

The company's also mentioned the possibility of partnerships with apps like Spotify, to let users choose from a much larger catalog than the 100 currently available in its proprietary offering.

Zach Honig contributed to this report.

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