“What is that?” exclaimed The Observer‘s managing editor as he passed by this reporter’s desk and spotted an opened box that displayed a woman’s face looking rather coy in a bizarre gadget. The box was for a set of cat ears that read and interpret your brainwaves, and they were all the rage at Comic-Con. We read so much about them that we asked their distributor, Nuerosky, if they’d be kind enough to send us a test pair. The ears arrived today in all of their glory, immediately horrifying/fascinating/annoying our coworkers.
The ears go on your head like a headband, with a black plastic censor that stretches across your forehead and lays just above your left eyebrow. A big black battery pack that takes four AAA batteries protrudes from the left side of the headband, where a wire and a clip dangle. You’re supposed to clip the thing to your left earlobe, which makes them hard to wear with earrings (sorry, ladies). Press the button on the battery pack and voila, you’re ready to freak out anyone in your general vicinity.
As far as brainwave-reading goes, they work pretty well: when we were highly focused on something (like writing this blog post, for example), they perked up and wiggled back and forth. While listening to a coworker, they stood straight up. While zoning out, they drooped down, indicating that our brain had more or less become a blank slate. Everyone seated nearby could tell how we were feeling at any given moment, which is ostensibly the purpose of the ears, but also rather creepy. “Your boss can tell when you’re not working!” pointed out a friend.
The ears themselves are not exactly the most comfortable accessory we’ve ever worn, but we imagine that they mostly exist for novelty’s sake: They’re perfect for a party trick, or for scaring your kids or just to pass around for amusement between friends. We couldn’t stand having them on for more than 15 minutes at a time, because the animatronic noises they make when reading your brainwaves, combined with how tight the headpiece was on our (apparently huge) head, made them rather uncomfortable and distracting.
But! They were totally awesome and fun to use. We can’t begrudge anyone their $100 gadgets. Alas, we’re pretty devastated that we have to send them back. We might have to ask for a pair for our birthday.