Unless I'm in a fancy restaurant, I generally don't need to interact a whole lot with the wait staff. When I'm dining at Chili's, its all about getting my fajita as quick as possible. The folks in Japan realise that a middleman is not always necessary, which is why they are developing products like the Deli-Touch.
The system works using a pen that collects barcode data when swiped over a selection in a menu. That data is then transferred wirelessly to a printer, where the kitchen staff takes the order. At that point, an automated voice will alert both parties that an order has been placed. At only 45,000 Yen (or $430) for a one-month rental on 30 pens, a server, and printer, the Deli-Touch represents a far more economical solution to conventional wait staff and other automated systems. Plus, I won't have to deal with any waiters who screw up my order because they are stoned. [Teraoka via Trends in Japan]