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Toyota and Nintendo Team Up for "Elderly-Friendly" Car

The older people get, the harder it is to drive -- reflexes slow, eyesight goes, and one's level of awareness drops as the years pass. These unfortunate realities of aging can make driving a potentially lethal proposition for those getting on in years (not to mention the drivers around them).

Governments, however, are not about to start confiscating drivers licenses when people are old enough to collect social security, so the challenge becomes how to minimize the danger involved with putting those in their golden years on the road.

Toyota is teaming up with Professor Ryuta Kawashima, who worked for Nintendo to develop the DS hit 'Brain Training,' which uses simple and fun puzzles to sharpen the mind and tell you how old your brain is. Toyota and Dr. Kawashima are working on a system that will monitor the moves of aging drivers and help them avoid dangerous behaviors. The ideas currently on the drawing board are an automatic braking system that can curb unnecessary accelerating, a navigation system (duh) and climate controls that will help keep the driver alert and comfortable.

"Ultimately, we hope to develop cars that stimulate brain activity so that driving itself becomes a form of brain training," Dr. Kawashima says. Toyota and the professor hope to have a basic form of the system ready for deployment within five years. Toyota's system isn't the only game in town, though, that is looking to save some lives by keeping drivers alert, Nissan has been working on its Intelligent Transportation System for some time now.

Nintendo has cornered the market on electronics marketed to the elderly at this point. 'Brain Training' and the 'Brain Age' series on the handheld DS and 'Wii Sports' and 'Wii Fitness' have also proven to be huge hits with older consumers looking to dull the effects of aging.

From Daily Mail

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Tags: aging, brain age, brain training, BrainAge, BrainTraining, driving, elderly, nintendo, safety, toyota, wii, wii fitness, wii sports, WiiFitness, WiiSports



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