Yesterday evening, Ashton Kutcher tweeted out a photo of a "brain sensing headband" called Muse, telling his 16.3 million followers that he was: " Excited to learn from this incredible technology." Kutcher didn't mention that he's an investor, or why his name appears to be photoshopped onto the product.
Our esteemed art director Jim Cooke could not say with 100 percent certainty that the image was doctored, but he did point out that by brightening the exposure, one can clearly see the letters "going over the headphones, or whatever those are." (Muse is a personal EEG device that sends readings to a user's phone or tablet because: "With a calm mind, you can do more in life.")
Cooke also said the angle of the text didn't seem right. Even if "Ashton Kutcher" was italicized, the those would have some perspective and shouldn't be perfectly parallel.
In response to questions, Jocelyn Umengan, senior manager of PR & Events at InteraXon, the maker of the Muse device, said the photo he tweeted "was all Ashton's initiative."
Thanks for your message.
We had nothing to do with the image.
This was all Ashton's initiative.
If you have any other questions please don't hesitate to give me a shout.
Jocelyn promised to forward our questions to Kutcher, who cofounded the prolific venture capital firm A-Grade Investments with Madonna's manager Guy Oseary and billionaire Ron Burkle. We will update the post if we hear back.
The company has raised about $7.5 million to date, [CEO Ariel Garten says]. It closed a $6 million round last year, on an offered $5 million. One of its investors is the actor Ashton Kutcher, who worked references to a company resembling Interaxon into an episode of the CBS sitcom Two and a Half Men.
Pimping a product is the raison d'etre for celebrity startup investors. But couldn't Ashton fulfill his business contribution without scrawling his name on the "brain computer interface" like it was a 4th grade lunch box?
Update: Wearables expert Tom Emrich makes a great visual argument that Ashton appropriated the photo from an article he wrote for Betakit in June. Looks like the Muse investor hasn't responded to Emrich's questions either.
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[Image via Getty]