.................with apologies to Alistair Cook

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

This HAS to have come from Japan!

From Wired magazine: In-car navigation systems with nagging voices have officially gone too far. IXs Research has developed a talking robotic teddy bear that not only gives you directions, it'll tell you when you've had too much to drink.

gps_bear02_5.jpg

The prototype navi-bear features an alcohol-detection sensor embedded in its neck. If it catches a whiff of the one you had for the road, it'll ask, "You haven't been drinking, have you?" Accelerate too hard or brake too quickly and it yells, "Watch out!"

That would be enough to warrant tossing navi-bear straight out the window, but it's got one thing going for it -- not only does it tell you how to get where you're going, it points the way.

According to the U.S. distributor, KumoTek, Teddy Bear Robot incorporates a Fujitsu navigation system that provides voice guidance. TomTom already offers celebrity voices ranging from Mr. T ("I pity the fool who don't turn right!") to Dennis Hopper. But this is the first time anyone's had a teddy bear tell you where to go. Providing you don't tell it where to go first.

The prototype has six joints in its arms and neck so it can point the way and make gestures while giving you directions and screaming things like "Watch out!" Pat it on the head and it'll tell you where you are. It's even got optical sensors to remind you that it's dark and you should turn on your headlights.

KumoTek says the bear will be available in Japan soon, and the head of iXs Research says the company would like to offer robotic navigation systems "in other shapes and characters."

No word yet whether any of them will wag a finger in your face when you've had one too many or flip off that driver who cut you off.