Space & Innovation

Pokémon GO Hacked to Play on Tesla

DIY solution earns California man first-ballot admission to Nerd Hall of Fame.

As the Pokémon GO craze continues to mutate into the year's weirdest pop culture phenomenon, one dedicated player has upped the ante -- by hacking the display on his Tesla electric car to play Pokémon, quite literally, on the go.

Given recent headlines concerning Tesla cars and distracted driving, maybe this isn't the greatest idea in the world. But then again, checking the details here, maybe it is.

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According to his recent blog post, a Bay Area man identified only as Jeff -- he's media editor of the culture website Pink Java, evidently -- has found a way to play Pokémon GO on his Tesla's 14-inch dashboard display. The hack required an ethernet cable, but that's about the extent of the details provided.

In the event you've been in a coma and/or orbit for the last few weeks, Pokémon GO is an augmented reality game in which animated critters appear on your smartphone camera, frolicking in various actual locations as determined by geolocation technology. Using the car's touchscreen display, Jeff can now find and capture Pokémon from the comfort of his own next-generation electric automobile.

"It's not perfect," Jeff writes. "The Tesla's display cuts off some of the game; I haven't been able to fix that."

Pokémon GO Vexes Me So

The saving grace of Jeff's nerdier-than-thou hack, in terms of safety, is that you actually can't play the game while driving. Well, you can't play it driving forward, anyway. Since the Tesla's only camera is in the rear bumper, the game can only be played while the car is in reverse.

"It makes for quite a challenge," Jeff writes. "I almost backed over a Rattata!" Presumably, this comment makes sense to those conversant in Pokémon GO.

Jeff is clearly a resourceful fellow, but apparently suffers from poor impulse control when it comes to spontaneous hacking: "I once hacked my home so that my lights would blink every time I received an email," he writes. "But that got old pretty quick and I haven't been able to figure out how to make it stop."

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