SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio is becoming known as a technology hub, as businesses flock here to start up what could be the next big thing.
Advancements in technology. Without them, mankind couldn't have progressed to where we are today. In the 1910s the first hazmat suit was believed to have been created to battle the Manchurian Plague. In the early 1930s vibrating belts to jiggle the fat away became fashionable in the home as part of the home gym.
Also in the early 1930s what was considered the first modern drone was used for aerial target practice. Fast forward to 1969 when Marie Van Brittan Brown and her husband Albert invented the modern video security system. Four inventions we still use today, but they've changed over time, and are used big time here in San Antonio.
We start off on the northwest side of town at Texas BioMed. Researchers work daily with these positive pressure biosafety level four suits.
"The back of the suit has these magnetic seals that close shut, so that prevents air from rushing out too quickly. And also behind those seals, there's also HEPA filters," said Ricardo Carrion Jr. Professor and Director of Maximum Containment Contract Research.
Biosafety Level four means the researchers are working with dangerous stuff, and these suits keep them safe. Carrion Jr added, "It's essentially you're in a bubble, blown up. If you were to get a nick or a cut on the suit, air would be forced out of the suit, into the room."
But they are more than worth it, because their research impacts global health and develops vaccines for disease of which there are no cure.
"Essentially, those suits allowed us to help create the first therapeutic for Ebola virus," Carrion Jr. said.
Our next stop is Shavano Heights on the north side of town. That's where they have Flock Safety's automated license plate recognition cameras which capture a picture of every license plate coming through this gate and sends it to the cloud.
"The software actually compares that license plate to those state and national crime databases that we talked about," added Holly Beilin, a Flock Safety Spokesperson. "So it can figure out if it's a stolen vehicle, if it's a vehicle associated with a known wanted offender, or a vehicle associated with a missing or endangered person."
The cameras have also caught gate crashers!
"Some people will come through the gate and the next person, instead of punching in the code, they'll try to sneak behind," said Joehellen Cronenberger, who has lived here 26 years. "And that's when the gate crashes happen."
On to USAA's main campus on the northwest side. It may look like an airplane, but it is actually a very sophisticated Dragon Fish Drone. This high tech drone with a 20 times zoom was used to assess the incredible damage from Hurricane Ian on Fort Myers Beach.
"USAA becomes a volunteer group of U.S. operators who actually join other state of Florida operators," said Daniel Diaz, the USAA Strategic Innovation Director. "Miami-Dade Fire Department, Pensacola Sheriff's Department."
It was even used to help in search and rescue, and eventually recovery efforts. Diaz told us, "It's definitely life altering chilling to actually be in that scenario.
Finally to downtown San Antonio. That's where we find The Exercise Coach using Exerbotics Equipment.
"It is digitized, computerized, robotisized, and uses artificial intelligence to measure your strength levels so that it uniquely sets up a program for each individual so they don't get hurt," said Anne Kilpatrick, the President of Hill Country Strength and Fitness.
The artificial intelligence based machines, one that even I tried out are designed to maximize your workout, and prevent injury.
"You can get hurt doing almost anything, but with these machines, say if we're doing overhead press, you could let go of the overhead press machine and it won't come down because it's all database computerized," added Omri Oliver, a trainer with The Exercise Coach.
San Antonio is full of tech, and that just scratches the surface.