Chatting on the phone can become a multimedia experience with Vivitar's new Motion Picture Phones, which combine telephone and video through a home computer.
Motion Picture Phone-1 offers a black and white image; MPP-2, color, surprisingly affordable at $219.95 and $269.95. A golf ball-sized camera mounts on top of the computer monitor or a flat surface near it, and draws power from the keyboard. Software and hardware comes with each phone, as do camera, cable and microphone. The clearest image projected is about the size of a credit card.
To have a two-way, face-to-face chat, both parties must have a unit. But a computer with a modem can receive an image from a caller with the phone. Vivitar recommends using its phones with a Pentium-based system with 28.8 kbps (kilobytes per second). For more information: (800) 421-2381.
Pressure Point: If Dick Tracy had high blood pressure he'd want this latest wrist device--the Compact Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor from Omron that's the first of its kind we've seen.
It fits almost any size wrist, wrapping around like a watch. The cuff inflates at the touch of a button and the measurement is displayed in large numbers on a digital panel that flips up when you need it and folds down when you don't. The lightweight wrist monitor ($100) includes two AAA batteries and a carrying case; available at Wal-Mart and Kmart.
Cool It: Bikers, hikers and joggers will want to check out the Polar Bottle, a slick new insulated sports water bottle. This high-tech bottle ($9.95) has a Mylar bag and an air gap in between the inner and outer shells, so it can keep fluids cool for up to three hours. Call (800) 440-0358.