High tech in the weirdest places

Forget the datacenter, enterprise technology is finding a home in the strangest locales -- including your esophagus

The IT industry is no stranger to innovation. In fact, crackpot, er, novel uses of technology often prove the key to achieving competitive advantage.

But what about when those same technologies show up where you least expect them? When your business is to cure the body of ailments, or to turn back the clock on a culture's waning heritage, or to keep a herd of cattle happily milked -- where does all this enterprise technology get you?

In some cases, surprisingly far.

From the battlefield to the esophagus to the college cafeteria, these 11 organizations are putting enterprise technology to unusual use -- proving IT is equally adept at solving problems in the server closet as it is in the strangest places.

Weird tech No. 1: IT-enabled self-service cow milking

Weird tech No. 2: Vegetation taps VoIP to voice its needs

Weird tech No. 3: Ensuring nut freshness with RFID

Weird tech No. 4: Tapping game tech to save lives

Weird tech No. 5: Raw fish ID

Weird tech No. 6: Cell phones to cure road rage?

Weird tech No. 7: Fingerprinting to fend off food fights

Weird tech No. 8: RFID spells reflux relief

Weird tech No. 9: Tribal confederation 2.0

Weird tech No. 10: Clearing the fog of war with text messaging

Weird tech No. 11: Combating plant extinction with PDAs