The "Tabi Navi"
The "Tabi Navi"
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The function called "Streetscape Camera"
The function called "Streetscape Camera"
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The "What's This Camera" function. By touching the question mark button, it is possible to display information on the tourist spots located in the direction that the camera is aimed at.
The "What's This Camera" function. By touching the question mark button, it is possible to display information on the tourist spots located in the direction that the camera is aimed at.
[Click to enlarge image]

Panasonic Corp announced Sept 7, 2010, that it will release the "Tabi Navi," a new type of navigation device, Oct 8, 2010, in Japan.

The device is targeted at travelers who are 50 and older and enjoy walking around towns. It can also be used as a car navigation system. Panasonic plans to sell it at both home appliance retailers and auto supply stores at an expected price of ¥60,000 (approx US$717).

The Tabi Navi, which means "journey navigation," comes with data on 80,000 commercial facilities such as restaurants, hotels and shops in 47 prefectures in Japan. It offers information on (1) the buildings around the user's location, (2) the tourist spots that the user will visit and (3) the routes to the spots.

Moreover, the Tabi Navi is the first car navigation device that is equipped with a camera and can provide augmented reality (AR) services. It features a function to display the names of and distances to tourist spots and landmarks on an image taken by the camera ("Streetscape Camera" function) as well as a function to show the explanation about tourist spots photographed by the camera ("What's This Camera" function).

The first function determines the direction that the camera is aimed at by using a geomagnetic sensor and displays information on buildings and so forth located in the direction. The second function displays information on tourist spots located within several hundreds of meters and in the direction that the camera is aimed at. It does not use image analysis technologies, etc.

Furthermore, the Tabi Navi can be used as a 2-Mpixel digital camera. When a picture is taken by the camera, location information is recorded at the same time as metadata so that the user can later check the locations where pictures were taken.

The Tabi Navi cannot be connected to a network, and data is transferred via an SD card. Panasonic plans to sell additional data on tourist spots on an online store. And such data can be added to the Tabi Navi by using dedicated PC software to write the data on an SD card.

The Tabi Navi can be used to watch and record 1seg digital TV broadcasts.