Ryuta Kawashima, a professor who helped develop Nintendo's "Brain Age" games, is teaming with Toyota to develop cars that help seniors drive safely, he told a news agency.

"We envision future cars will be able to monitor brain and emotional activity to back up elderly drivers," Kawashima, a Tohoku University scientist who worked on Nintendo's best-selling 'Brain Age' games, and whose smiling image is the guide in the series, told the Associated Press (AP).

Among technologies on the table is a that can determine a driver's driving patterns and curb any dangerous activity, Kawashima was quoted as saying. It could, for example, slow the car if it senses the driver is hitting the accelerator for no reason.

That could perhaps one day prevent such accidents as the one in a Santa Monica, California, market as few years ago when an elderly driver, for no apparent reason, drove his Buick at high speed through a barrier into the crowd, killing or injuring a number of people.

Future developments could involve a navigation system and temperature controls that help drivers stay alert, Kawashima told the news agency.

"Ultimately, we hope to develop cars that stimulate brain activity, so that driving itself becomes a form of brain training," Kawashima told AP.

According to the report, Kawashima said Toyota Motor representatives are attending his 'Mobility and Smart Aging' study group, which he set up in May to discuss senior-friendly cars.

The automaker and Tohoku University "are done with brainstorming and ready to start making some of the technologies," Kawashima reportedly said, saying some of the technology could appear in cars in five years.

Toyota spokeswoman Kayo Doi told the Associated Press company engineers are working with Tohoku University but aren't ready to announce any specific technologies.

"Brain Age" - a brain-training game series for the DS handheld game console - has sold millions of units around the globe.

Doing simple puzzles and exercises can help stimulate the brain and keep it supple, Kawashima told AP.

Japanese automakers already offer some factory options to assist elderly or disabled vehicle passengers. A swivelling front passenger seat is often available on domestic market models, for example.