World’s first ‘smart’ cruise ship features robot bartenders, virtual balconies and more

smart cruise ship quantum 2
Dubbed by its owner as “the world’s first smartship,” Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship could be just the ticket for tech fans keen to indulge their passion while sailing on the high seas.

The cruise company on Monday began touting the features of its high-tech vessel – Quantum of the Seas – ahead of its maiden voyage in three months’ time.

Bionic bartenders

For many, its standout feature will be the ship’s robotic bar staffed by “bionic bartenders” – apparently the first of their kind in the world. Cocktails and other drinks can be ordered using one of the bar’s tablets, after which it’s simply a case of sitting back to watch the robots knock your order together.

Quantum of the Seas also features a futuristic venue it’s calling Two70. Here you can marvel at the transformation of its floor-to-ceiling windows into giant screens for video projection, with six seven-feet-high dancing “Roboscreens” controlled by robotic arms….we’ve reached out to Royal Caribbean in a bid to find out what in Captain Cook’s name it’s talking about here, and will update when we hear back….where guests can enjoy movies, multimedia shows, and digital-mapping presentations.

Related: Take a tour of Allure of the Seas, the world’s largest cruise ship

And here’s a neat touch – all interior rooms (ie. those without a sea view) will be kitted out with ceiling-to-floor video screens showing real-time views of the ocean. Just make sure you don’t try to dash out to view that beautiful sunset or you’ll whack your head on the wall.

“The screens – powered by the same RED Epic cinematic cameras used to shoot House of Cards, Sharknado and more – bring live, real-time views of the ocean and destinations into 375 inside rooms,” the company said Monday.

Quantum of the Seas will also feature Wi-Fi with speeds that “rival those on land,” Xbox One gaming stations, videoconferencing facilities (for workaholics, presumably), and RFID-enabled wristbands that you can use as a room key as well as to purchase items from the ship’s stores and bars.

‘Making it easy for guests’

Specially designed mobile apps, too, will make it simple for guests to do things like book on-board restaurants and land-based excursions.

“It’s all about making it easy for our guests, eliminating some of the barriers that we’ve had, eliminating the lines, and ensuring they have the ability to pre-plan their vacation as much as they want to,” Royal Caribbean’s Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said.

Described by the company as “the world’s most technologically advanced ship ever to sail,” the giant 4,180-passenger vessel will set out for the first time on November 2, sailing from Southampton in the UK to New York City.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Folding canoes and ultra-fast water filters

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Mobile

New Galaxy S10 leaks showcase display sizes, confirm headphone jack return

While we still may be months away from an announcement, there's no doubt about it: Samsung is working hard on its successor to the Galaxy S9. Here's everything we know about the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10.
Movies & TV

Ice meets fire in HBO's latest 'Game of Thrones' season 8 teaser

With the eighth and final season looming, Game of Thrones fever has officially become a pandemic. Our list of all the relevant news and rumors will help make the wait more bearable, if you don't mind spoilers.
Gaming

Players' 'Red Dead Online' beta progress will carry over to the full release

Red Dead Online will gradually rolled out to Red Dead Redemption 2 players via a beta. We've got all the details about the beta's suite of competitive and cooperative modes, as well as what to expect going forward.
Product Review

'Marvel's Spider-Man' slings and swings its way to the top of the superhero heap

Insomniac's entry into the superhero genre has a big suit to fill, but ‘Marvel's Spider-Man’ is a phenomenal action game, a strong Spider-Man story, and an open-world game that has plenty to do without getting boring.
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.
Emerging Tech

White dwarf star unexpectedly emitting bright ‘supersoft’ X-rays

NASA's Chandra Observatory has discovered a white dwarf star which is emitting supersoft X-rays, calling into question the conventional wisdom about how X-rays are produced by dying stars.
Business

Amazon scouted airport locations for its cashier-free Amazon Go stores

Representatives of Amazon Go checkout-free retail stores connected with officials at Los Angeles and San Jose airports in June to discuss the possibility of cashier-free grab-and-go locations in busy terminals.
Emerging Tech

Full-fledged drone delivery service set to land in remote Canadian community

Some drone delivery operations seem rather crude in their execution, but Drone Delivery Canada is building a comprehensive platform that's aiming to take drone delivery to the next level.
Emerging Tech

Intel wants its fleet of drones to monitor America’s aging, unsafe bridges

Intel has signed a deal to use its Falcon 8+ drones to carry out bridge inspections. The hope is that these drones will be useful in spotting potential problems before they become serious.
Emerging Tech

Transplanted pig hearts show promise in baboon trials. Are humans next?

Researchers in Germany have successfully transplanted modified pig hearts into baboons. The results take us one step closer to ending organ transplant waiting lists for good. Here's why.
Emerging Tech

An A.I. cracks the internet’s squiggly letter bot test in 0.5 seconds

How do you prove that you’re a human when communicating on the internet? The answer used to be by solving a CAPTCHA puzzle. But maybe not for too much longer. Here is the reason why.
Emerging Tech

Makerbot is back with a new 3D printer that’s faster and more precise than ever

MakerBot's new Method 3D printer aims to bridge the gap between home 3D printers and more industrial 3D printing tech. Here are a few of the tantalizing things you can expect from it.