When you're invited to a launch party for this product:
In my opinion, you don't ask questions. You RSVP with the faith that if nothing else, you'll end the night with a good story tell.
Upon arriving at the event, I could see in the distance - at the end of of a long hallway that opened up into a rather classy venue where fancy cheeses, cured meats and signature drinks abound - a smattering of serious looking people engaged in serious conversations, each donning a set of Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears. What would otherwise have been the ultimate picture of ritzy sophistication was instead painted comically absurd. Needless to say, I was intrigued.
After checking in, I'm given a complimentary set of Cat Ears and realize it takes a moderate amount of courage (liquid or otherwise) to abandon all inhibition and finally put them on, knowing full well how laughable I will look. It didn't take long for that part of me that as a child envied those whimsically expressive ears so characteristic of our feline friends to win out over any reservations I may have had. (Oh, come on! I refuse to accept that I'm the only one who thinks cat ears are way cooler than human ears.)
Sensors placed on your forehead and earlobe measure your brain activity and cause the ears to move accordingly. When relaxed the ears droop down. They perk back up when your brain is focused and high levels of interest cause them to wiggle. And yes, it's all just as cute as it sounds. The packaging of Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears call on consumers to 'show the world what's really on your mind' which, I now see, is a double edged blade:
Example #1: While engaged in a conversation with a representative of Necomimi about the technology behind the product, my ears embarrassingly went into 'relaxation' mode. My brain essentially stopped caring. And everyone, including the rep, was made aware of that.
Example #2: In meeting a particularly attractive fellow attendee at the launch party, all the while trying to "play it cool," my ears would not - despite my best efforts to master my mind - stop wiggling back and forth like some sort of crazed and possibly rapid tabby.
By the end of the event I was having a great time. It was Friday and the night was young, so I agreed to meet a friend for a drink at a local bar, but I wasn't ready to part with the ears. I sat in the car for a while deliberating the best course of action, until eventually I decided to waltz into the bar, ears intact, like it was the most normal thing in the world. At least 5 people I had never met asked to try them on - one of whom is now my future hairdresser. The Cat Ears are a conversation starter to say the least. One bartender offered me a shot of whiskey to see what effect it would have on the movement of the ears. Being an ardent supporter of the scientific method, I took him up on his offer. In a moment of sheer cinema-esque perfect timing, my face still twisted from the whiskey, a single ear gave a sharp 3 twitches to the delight of surrounding patrons. It's fair to say I had comparably more fun at that bar with the ears than I have had without them in the past.
Are Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears the next big consumerist trend? Doubtful. Will they make your life qualitatively better? Probably not. Could the technology behind this product be used in much more beneficial ways? Absolutely. In fact, the brainwave measuring apparatus is already being used in advantageous ways is varying fields. This product does not pretend to be anything more that what it is and that is whimsical and ridiculous, but a whole lot of fun. They might not serve any higher function than to be interesting in an extremely silly way, but will they get you free drinks from local bartenders, and a new hairdresser? Hey, it happened for me! ^--^