If you're allowed to have a booth at the IAAPA Attractions Expo, you can probably use words like "new," "latest," first-time-ever," or "world premiere" in your sales pitch. So we had a heck of a task to choose four of the coolest new technologies that debuted this year.
Folks, there's nine miles of aisle-space at this thing.
After a pretty solid caloric burn, we were especially drawn to these four exhibitors:
1. Amsterdam-based Cruden debuts its Powerboat Simulator
This simulator doesn't exist anywhere in the world except for the one we saw in the showroom. It's a prototype.
"What is really special and what has never been done before," said Frank Kalff, Cruden Commercial Director, "is we are in a boat and in water, and this water and boat have been modeled as in reality."
If you've ever driven a boat, this powerboat ride is as real as it gets. Cruden measured the water's depth and the height of the waves, performed some serious mathematics, and POOF! - they engineered a way for your boat to react to the wake or waves as it would in the "real world."
But don't say it has hydraulics.
"It is motors and spindles, so it's electric," he clarified, saying that hydraulics is so old-school.
2. Robot Costumes USA
This Jacksonville-based company provided one of the most entertaining exhibits at IAAPA. That's because they had a variety of talking robots interacting with passersby.
Making its world debut is a robot that moves around on a Segway.
"It's been modified so that he can control it by its knees and not the handle that typically a Segway is used for," explained Jeff Leininger, the company's CEO.
Leininger says their newest bot is like a mobile kiosk. It had an iPad on its chest.
"It's a mobile kiosk," he added. "It's walking around, it's entertaining and it's also informative."
3. Siriusware's "Point & Pay"
Imagine spending the day at the water park and not needing a wallet. Think about it -- when you're hungry or thirsty, you have to either go to your locker or lug your stuff around all day as it gets wetter and wetter.
Sirusware showed off its fingerprint system to prospective buyers at IAAPA.
"Rather than carry a card around or have to revisit your locker to get you money, you can use your fingerprint to pay," said Mark Danemann, Siriusware Inc. President & CEO. "But it really could be used anywhere where you're using in-house debit cards or gift cards where somebody gives you money up front that they're going to spend throughout the facility that day."
If you buy a $50 gift card at the gate and you only spend $30, you'll get that $20 back when you leave the park.
4. Accesso's Virtual Queuing System
While Sirusware doesn't exist yet in the U.S., Accesso's virtual queuing system is rolling out already. If you hate standing in line for a ride, you'll dig this.
Virtual queuing lets you make a reservation using your smartphone. You know how restaurants have that device that vibrates or lights up when your table's ready? This is the same idea, except your phone will alert you when it's your turn.
"You go to the ride, you go in a special entrance, and you go straight on the coaster," said CEO Tom Burnet of Lake Mary-based Accesso. So instead of impatiently waiting in line, you can go on other rides, grab a drink or do whatever makes you happy.