Hey gang, Valkor here. Though Hurricane took some of the winds out of the TOV sails (and left tons of damage around the NY/NJ area), we're still here, still going strong and there ain't no getting offa this train we're on (yea I stole that from Final Fantasy 7). So lets kick things back into gear with a new company to the Val-Cave who I've been eyeing for a long while now and it wasn't until a recent event that I happened upon the geeky coolness of Neurowear and there Necomimi Brainwave controlled Cat Ears. Well now they're here in the cave and I'll say this - they're not perfect, but they are pretty damn cool!
Now all you cosplayers out there, especially those who use cat ears in your dress up have reason to celebrate, because these ears not only complete just about any anime ensemble, but it bumps up its coolness levels tenfold. Necomimi are mechanical fuzzy ears that read your brainwaves allowing the ears to react to your mood. The device uses two points of attachment – one piece sticks to the forehead through the use of a bendable armrest and the second clips to your earlobe. Once batteries have been added (not included and it takes 4 AAAS) and the device securely attached (it uses an active strap to the back of the head for a more secure hold), then do the ears work their magic and start to flicker, flinch, drop, and twitch at the thoughts going through your eager minds. It doesn't happen right away and you need to give the device a couple of minutes to calibrate. Once calibrated, the device will detect your emotions and react accordingly. For example if your happy they'll perk and wiggle. And if you're sad they'll droop.
The fuzzy ears are removable so that you can add other styles and colors (sold separately) such as doggy ears, rabbit ears, and even devil's horns. On paper it sounds pretty simple and even at the Showstoppers event where I first met Neurowear reps, it just seemed oh so perfect. So when my pair arrived, I was excited to give these babies a go. I used them in two different venues – my work place and at a hangout session. In both activities, curiosity of friends and onlookers was super piqued; those who already knew about the device were eager to see it in action. And those that knew nothing of the electronic wonder was hesitant at first but ultimately gave the ears a try and really enjoy the experience of having them on. Me personally? I simply had too much fun sporting the ears. However there are a few kinks that definitely need to be ironed out and we'll discuss it further in the TOV Breakdown.
Right off the bat, Neurowear is not only a huge hit with me but also others who've had the chance to experience this fun novelty. Not only that but they complete just about any cosplay or Halloween costume – any! While I don't see too many guys jumping at the chance to slap these puppies on, girls will go ga-ga adding this to their Princess Leia slave girl outfit or *insert your favorite anime character here*. And how much fun is it having brain controlled cat ears? You'll definitely catch stares from onlookers old and young who'll want to know a) what are they? and b) where can they get a pair? The headband is adjustable and the overall piece fits rather comfortably on the head once set properly. It feels awkward at first but after some time you get used to it. And I'll admit that at times I forgot they were on. In the end Necomimi, you've won me over with your ability to take "cute" to a whole new level.
Necomimi is Neurowear's initial offering and as such is subject to flaws. Howewver, these are kinks that can be ironed out in the next iteration. The most obvious flaw is battery life. I've found that the 4 AAAs don't hold a charge long enough for multiple uses. If you take off the device, leaving the batteries in for a day or so, the next time you pick up the ears, the device will spark to life and then turn off. A rechargeable battery option definitely needs to be implemented especially at a time when everyone is going "green". Next the door containing the batteries should be much easier to open; What's with the screw? Why can't there be a pop on/off lid? Finally and this is more of a suggestion for future versions, but I do hope to see more animation in the ears; I love the droop, the perk up and shake, etc, but I'd like to see some left/right twist motions incorporated in the next version. How creepy/cool would that be to hear something to the right of you and the ears suddenly twitch that way?
In the end Neurowear, this crazy cat's curiosity has been satisfied and the Necomimi brainwave controlled cat ears are a winner in my book. They're loads of fun to wear, make for a great conversation piece, and its the perfect accessory for halloween, anime/comic conventions, or… dare I say… le sexy time? There's still some work to be done with the ears and I can see the product improving with each new version. So until then, I'm giving these Necomimi ears, 4 out of TOV 5 stars for the overall fun factor.