Toyota Turns the Nintendo DS into a Navigation System Remote


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Utilizing a system called Kuruma de DS (DS in the Car), Japanese DS owners can now use their DS to control the car navigation system. The system was developed by Toyota as part their new Smart Navi automobile navigation system.

It allows passengers to input destinations without having to reach across to access the in-dash navigation system. They can also view maps and sightseeing information and go back to it later using the DS' save feature.

Kurama de DS is Bluetooth enabled, allow DS users instant access when they enter the car. The interface includes your Nintendo Mii avatar, and even allows you to view the speedometer from your DS. It allows nearly full access to all of the car's navigation controlled systems, even letting you play music from the DS on the car's speakers.

While this is a cool use of technology, it's easy to see where this can go horribly wrong. In the U.S. at least, the Nintendo DS is primarily used by children. As any parent, or anyone who has ever taken a ride with children, knows, they can be incredibly bothersome to drivers. The cliched saying "I will turn this car around, mister" exists for a reason.

Now add to the constant bickering siblings will get into and questions of "are we there, yet?" - total control of the car's navigation system, and you could have a serious problem. Imagine driving down the road, when all of a sudden you hear Mario screaming through your speakers at top volume; "It's-a me, Mario!" Then you start getting endless suggestions on where to stop, changing your route destination and getting lost in the process. Granted, this could be a worst case scenario, but you get the idea. Giving away control of your car's navigation system is probably not the best of ideas.

Then there are the economics to consider. Toyota's Smart Navi system costs around $2,500, the Kuruma de DS add-on costs an extra $100. Even if you buy a Toyota and want the Smart Navi system for other reasons, it isn't even worth the extra $100 to be bothered by backseat drivers telling you where to go.

As a concept, it is interesting, and tech companies should explore ways to control automated systems using wireless hand-held technology. However, giving this technology to kids as a first step, is a big misfire.

[source: Kotaku]