When the Necomimi headband made its U.S. debut last week at San Diego's Comic-Con International convention, anime and mange fans were all ears.
Part fashion accessory and part high-tech toy, the gadget features a pair of cat ears that "read" the wearer's brain waves and responds accordingly: perked straight up indicates concentration, drooped down shows relaxation.
The electronic ears are produced by Japanese fashion group Neurowear, and bioelectronics company NeuroSky Inc., based in San Jose, Calif., provides the device's brain-reading sensor.
The Necomimi headband was a hit when first introduced at the 2012 Nico Nico Cho-Kaigi event held in April at the Makuhari Messe complex in Chiba Prefecture, and at Comic-Con, which ran from July 12-15, the ears sold for $99.95 (7,900 yen) per pair. Neurowear plans to expand sales worldwide through exclusive shops and online stores.
Necomimi, literally cat ears, is a popular motif in anime, manga and video games in Japan, and cat-like characters make an appearance in a wide range of titles. Feline features have also proven popular with cosplayers, fans who dress up as their favorite characters.
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