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Yesterday I went to check out Burning Man Decompression in San Francisco. While it doesn’t have nearly the scope of art and sound projects as the main event, there was still a lot of impressive sculpture, good music, and fun to be had. And as always, there were incredible costumes. There were a pair of giant cardboard robots interacting with passersby, a gentleman dressed as a walking gold lamé shower, and my personal favorite, brainwave-controlled animal ears.

Yes, you read that right.

This is without a doubt the next best thing to actually being a colorful furry animal (for those who’d be interested in that sort of thing). I got chatting with the guy who was wearing these fuzzy orange fox ears, which move in accordance with your emotional state (triggered by alpha and beta brainwaves). Turned out that Nick Hoffman, the guy under the ears, was also the guy behind the ears: his company EMOKI created these anthropomorphic accessories. He was really excited to tell me all about them and show off the range of emotion they can convey. For example, they perk up when you see somebody cute, they droop down when you feel relaxed, and they wiggle when you get excited.


This blissed out lady will show you the science behind the EEG headset

Here’s how they work (from EMOKI’s website):

  1. The forehead sensor listens to the body’s electrical signal, like a microphone.
  2. The ear clip acts as a ground and reference, listening to non-brainwave body electricity.
  3. The brainwave chip takes both signals and filters out all the electrical noise from the body and the ambient environment, honing in on brainwaves from 3-100 Hz.
  4. The chip’s internal algorithms convert the brainwave data to attention and meditation scores.
  5. Depending on one’s attention and relaxation scores, the servo motors rotate and wiggle.

Gillian BenAry

When I’m not at MAKE, I’m cutting, sewing, folding, mailing, drawing, dancing, or loitering at the local library.


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Comments

  1. Necomimi says:

    Neurowear already makes the Necomimi, which is exactly the same thing. You can buy them at Urban Outfitters for about $100.

    1. Daniel Kim says:

      Neurowear is also working on a brain-controlled wagging tail called “shippou”.

    2. Nick says:

      Necomimi is cat ears, whereas Emoki makes bear, bunny, and fox ears in a variety of different colors and personalities.

  2. Narcolepticdoc says:

    The ear things have been around for almost a year now. As far as I can tell, all they are doing is buying NeuroSky’s necomimi headsets, rebranding them, and manufacturing a line of fur ear covers.

    It’s hardly that innovative, and worthy of a kickstarter? I dunno. There are plenty of replacement ear shells available at anime conventions and I’m sure on etsy.

    1. Nick says:

      You’re right, fur ear covers wouldn’t require a Kickstarter. If you looked at their launch page, you’d see that they’re making new foams as well, which requires new manufacturing tools.

  3. jgjhgjh says:

    Seems like blatant plagiarism to me, all they’re really doing is providing different covers; which people already do for the Necomimi. I’d only be interested if they made the output hackable into an if this then that sort of format (program your phone to search happy pictures when you’re sad, switch playlists depending on mood, etc)

  4. Mark says:

    Although, it seems to be re-branded ones but Emoki’s wears are well appreciated among consumers. Very inspirational!

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