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Mico headphones scan brainwaves to match songs to your mood


March 13, 2013

Developed by Neurowear, the Mico headphones use a brainwave sensor to detect the wearer's mood and then plays a song to match using a smartphone app

Developed by Neurowear, the Mico headphones use a brainwave sensor to detect the wearer's mood and then plays a song to match using a smartphone app

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Finding the perfect song to match what a person is feeling is practically an art form. It's the main reason people spend so much time putting together song playlists for any occasion. But what if you didn't need to hand-pick songs yourself and just let your brain pick them for you? That's the idea behind Neurowear's latest gadget, the Mico headphones, which use a brainwave sensor to detect the wearer's mood and play a song to match.

After releasing a set of mind-controlled cat ears and a fluffy tail that wags when the user is excited, Neurowear seems to have adapted it's brainwave-reading technology to something a bit more practical in a pair of headphones. The company previously worked on a project called Zen Tunes that analyzed a person's brainwave data while listening to specific songs, so this could be an offshoot of that.

Aside from an extra bulky appearance, Mico looks like a typical set of over-the-ear headphones, but with the addition of an EEG (electroencephalograph) sensor protruding from the front. According to the developers, the sensor allows the headphones to analyze a person's brain patterns and determine the wearer's mood.

When connected to a smart device running an accompanying app, the headphones will play a song chosen from Neurowear's database that matches the detected state of mind. The sides of each ear piece also light up to show when music is playing and will even display symbols to indicate whether the listener is feeling focused, drowsy, or stressed.

Playing songs to match someone's state of mind is definitely an interesting idea – kind of like Pandora, but with your subconscious choosing the playlist. It's hard to say how accurate the song matching software is though, and it's still a tad gimmicky (although less so than the aforementioned cat ears and tail). It might be interesting to see an inverse of the concept however, with the headphones playing an energetic song when detecting a person is drowsy, for example.

Neurowear has yet to reveal any details about when the Mico headphones might be released or at what price, but you can watch the video below to see them demonstrated with Japanese model/photographer Julie Watai.

Source: Neurowear

About the Author
Jonathan Fincher Jonathan grew up in Norway, China, and Trinidad before graduating film school and becoming an online writer covering green technology, history and design, as well as contributing to video game news sites like Filefront and 1Up. He currently resides in Texas, where his passions include video games, comics, and boring people who don't want to talk about either of those things. All articles by Jonathan Fincher

Positive or negative feedback? If you are feeling down will they play happy or sad music? "Suicide is Painless" could bring law-suites.


That's what I was thinking, a negative feedback loop. I can just see someone who is borderline suicidal putting these on and Last Kiss, Tell Laura I Love Her and a few others like that start playing, and the next thing they know, they're walking out in front of a speeding truck or bus. Splat goes the lawsuit.


Expanded Viewpoint

Who says their idea of mood corrective music won't have the opposite effect on me? If I was in a downswing, Carpenters tunes might push me over the edge.

John Hagen-Brenner

I feel like this might cause brain cancer somehow, although I'm not qualified to say it will.

Andrew Green
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