Everyone knows the iPad is a handy device for watching videos or reading books and newspapers. But the Apple tablet also has a bewildering range of other uses—and teaching is the least of them. Here, a list of some of the surprising uses people are finding for Apple's gadget:

1. Governing
iPads in the House! Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) brought his Apple tablet to work with him this week in the House of Representatives, reports Patrick Gaving in Politico. The congressman says the device is useful for keeping up with the news, and as a makeshift teleprompter. The lawmaker even uses an app called "Congress in Your Pocket" to keep up to date on what is going on in the House.

2. Choosing a bottle of wine
Patrons of the Chicago Cut steakhouse in the Second City are given an iPad to help them select a bottle of wine from a list of 750 vintages. The restaurant designed a custom app with a searchable list of all its wines by name, variety, price, and region. Chicago Cut says its investment of around $28,000 (for 40 iPads) has already paid dividends, reports the Associated Press. Wine sales have risen by 20 percent since the gimmick was introduced.

3. Saving lives
Doctors across the U.S. are increasingly using the tablet device to aid them in consultations, reports the Los Angeles Times. One in five M.D.s say they plan to buy an iPad and hope to use them to read vital signs, update online patient charts, and monitor symptoms over time.

4. Selecting a jury
Attorneys attempting to pick balanced juries should consult their iPads. Developer Front9Technologies has designed an application, iJuror, that helps lawyers sort through data to assess potential jurors. "With a few flicks of the finger," says Finis Price at TechnoEsq, "an attorney can record a great amount of information for a civil or criminal trial and make better informed decisions in jury selection."

5. Basketball practice
Washington Wizards coach Flip Saunders has given each of his players an iPad to use as a techno-playbook. The Wizards' coaching staff sends video footage of exceptional plays and training moves to the basketball players during off-hours. "It's a great learning tool," Saunders told Bullets Forever. "We are able now to send [players] video or edits and they can get the video and watch it in their room."

6. Accepting payment
The iPad can also be used as the basis for a "sophisticated, yet low-cost point-of-sale cash register," says Serkan Toto at CrunchGear. Japanese designers have come up with a desktop counter into which the iPad can be inserted and used as a "cash register interface." Known as the Flavius, "the system is actually being used by several businesses across Japan already."

7. Sumo wrestling
The plus-size Japanese grapplers have been given iPads by their trainers to use as communication devices, as their gigantic fingers are too fat to press the buttons on a regular cellphone. The old-fashioned organization previously relied on fax machines and home telephones to contact wrestlers. "It's a giant leap for a super-sized sport," says AFP.