Technology is growing at such a pace that we are constantly hearing of new and unusual places where unexpected technology suddenly shows up. Self-driving cars, for example. Or the where-I-last-parked-the-car App. Very helpful.
Here are three entries into the field of Unexpected Technology: Hilton Concierge, Bicycle Tires, Invisilign Teeth. Read ’em and weep. Or laugh. Whatever fits your mood. We’re not picky.
Hilton Hotels Robot Concierge
Meet Connie, Hilton’s New Watson-Powered Receptionist. A good example of unexpected technology. Like a good concierge, Connie will “inform guests on local tourist attractions, dining recommendations, and hotel features and amenities.” The robotic concierge was put into action March 2016.
Without replacing human staff, Connie will lighten the load by assisting with visitor requests, personalizing the guest experience and empowering travelers with the information they need to fully plan and enjoy their trips.
Taking advantage of a number of IBM’s Watson technologies, Connie utilizes Watson’s Dialog, Speech to Text, Text to Speech and Natural Language Classifier APIs to interact with guests in as natural a way as possible.
WayBlazer integration enables the robot to provide local dining recommendations, tourist attractions, and more. The “more”? Like any good assistant, Connie learns through experience — the more guest interaction, the better advice she’s able to give.
Bicycle Tires 1 Atom Thick!
By adding layers of graphene (a one-atom-thick layer of carbon) to bike tires, Vittoria has developed new tires, called G+ or Graphene Plus, that they claim are superior in pretty much every facet. This unexpected technology is lighter than the ordinary tire and longer-lasting. Helpfully, they are more puncture resistant. They dissipate heat more efficiently. They are stiffer when riding upright for improved rolling resistance, but soften in turns for better traction thanks to the honeycomb pattern of the graphene.
College Student Prints His Own Invisalign Braces
Which work amazingly well and cost $60!
Now in case you didn’t get the headline, yes, he printed his Invisilign-style braces. Not on a paper printer. That’s old tech. On a 3-D printer. Yes, I know. You thought that was a gimmick. Well, no. They really do have printers that print objects. Like Invisilign Braces, for example. Doesn’t this fit the unexpected technology category to a T? Something you can get your teeth into.
The student went through several stages, of course. How did he know what to do? As tech people like to say, “It’s all on line.” So he researched and read. And critically, to all you DIY’ers, he understood. For example he notes, “I determined the number of steps I needed by looking up the maximum distance a tooth can be safely moved within a given period of time.” Don’t try this at home.
More to Come
There’s more! But I’m thinking you are so stunned now by these three examples of unexpected technology, that I’d better wait until month to present more. Teaser? How about Marty McFly’s Shoes that Self-Lace? Reality.