TECH TUESDAY: Mood Music

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by TYLER SIESWERDA / KVUE News

kvue.com

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 10:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 5 at 7:28 AM

AUSTIN -- You might think people wearing large cat ears are just trying to stand out, but the ears are actually the first product from the Japanese company Neurowear. 

“Its reading your brain waves, and when you focus on something, ears stand up, and when you're relaxing, ears tilt down,” said Yasuhiro Tsuchiya who represented Neurowear at SXSW Interactive in March. 

Tsuchiya paused, closed his eyes, and the ears slumped down.

Building on the ear technology, Neurowear has come up with something potentially much more marketable. It's called MIKO - Music inspiration from your subconsciousness. 

It uses an electroencephalography sensor, or brain wave sensor, connected to headphones then paired with an iPhone app. The sensor determines your mood then pulls songs from the app. Each song has a neuro-tag associating it with a specific mood.

So, does it work?  It did for KVUE's Tyler Sieswerda, but consider he was standing in the middle of the Austin Convention Center with hundreds of people buzzing around. 

The first song was upbeat and energetic.  

“If you feel your mood change, it doesn't fit with the music, just shake your iPhone, and we can re-scan your brain,” said Tsuchiya.

Tyler paused, closed his eyes and took a few deep breaths, then gave the iPhone a shake.

The next song was much more downtempo. Tyler tried it once more, except this time he was laughing and smiling. The third song had a party beat.

Neurowear says this type of technology could be especially useful for discovering new music. 

There are only 100 songs in the current data base, and the sensor can get disrupted when it loses contact with your forehead, but think about the possibilities, or just let your subconscious do all the work.

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