Published: Sunday 31 January 1999

There are answering machines to answer the phone. Now, Japan's electronic giant Matsushita has developed an 'answering machine' of sorts for the door. The company has come up with a video monitor that snaps pictures of anyone who comes knocking on your door while you are out for the day. Called the Television Doorphone, the device captures up to 16 snapshots per day on an eight-megabyte flash memory chip. If security is the aim, you can check whether a burglar is turning up regularly to 'case' the area for empty houses. Of course, the device also makes a kind of visual answering machine ( New Scientist , Vol 160, N0 2161).

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