The Nintendo DS handheld console has added handwriting recognition to its impressive arsenal of unique features, with a deal being announced this week with Zi Corporation to bring the Decuma handwriting technology to the platform.

This will enable developers of DS games to integrate handwriting recognition into their games - and not just in English, either, since the Decuma system supports not only the Roman alphabet but also traditional and simplified Chinese, and the Japanese hiragana, katakana and kanji alphabets.

Although no actual products have been announced that use the system, the technology deal is very significant since it opens the doors for game developers to use the system as they see fit in their products.

"As the leading provider of handheld video game systems in the world, Nintendo has a reputation for adopting innovative technologies that improve the user's experience with its products," explained Zi Corporation's CTO Milos Djokovic.

"With Decuma, Nintendo DS users will experience natural handwriting recognition previously only available to PDA and smartphone users. Zi continues to bring its multi-modal input products to leading mobile phones, gaming platforms and smartphones across the globe."

One obvious use for the handwriting recognition technology is in the "Brain Training" series of software products for the Nintendo DS, which provide a range of logic and intelligence based trials and have proved enormously popular in Japan since their launch last summer.