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TECHNO WATCH

THE GOODS : Baseball Scores at a Glance

August 05, 1994|LYNN SIMROSS

Sure to be a hit with baseball fans is SportsTrax, a wireless sports-information monitor that delivers scores of your favorite team, inning by inning, on a beeper-size device you can hold in your hand.

Right now, it is available only for the Chicago White Sox and the Toronto Blue Jays, but it is expected to be on-line for every major league team by the opening of the 1995 season. SportsTrax, from Motorola, is easily operated with one push-button and can be used in most urban areas. Commercial-free, the device gets game updates from the stadium press box--usually within two minutes of the on-field activity. Its tiny screen displays the inning, the score, which team is at bat, the number of outs and the position of base runners.

A sound activator--which can be turned off--gives a variety of audible alerts to indicate the start of a game, end of an inning, run scored, home run and when there is a rally taking place. The screen also displays the previous game's score and the starting time of the next game.

Licensed by Major League Baseball Properties, SportsTrax ($149, including wrist strap) has no monthly fees and, for White Sox and Blue Jay fans, includes game updates (and playoffs) through the end of the 1997 season. The device operates on two AAA batteries, which Motorola reps say will last for half a season.

To order a White Sox SportsTrax, call (800) 621-0521. For the Blue Jays version, call (800) 850-TRAX. And keep watching the skies for SportsTrax to appear in NFL, NBA and NHL form.

At Long Last, TV Sans the Commercials

Television addicts will cheer Commercial Brake, a nifty little device that automatically zaps commercials from programs or movies recorded on a VCR. It's due on the market in early September.

Ever since remote-controlled TVs and VCRs were invented, viewers have zapped and zipped through commercials from recorded programs. Film buffs trying to archive old movies have done the same. But that requires patience and a quick trigger finger on the fast-forward button.

Now, Encino inventor Jerry Iggulden has a way to eliminate commercials for you. The Commercial Brake box easily connects to your VCR with cables, Iggulden says. It makes a "playback map" of where the commercials are while the program is being recorded.

"Through sophisticated electronics, it watches while the recording is being made and can tell where the commercials took place," he explains. "Then when the program is played back, the screen goes to blue for five seconds and zips through the commercial." The audio is muted as well.

Iggulden owns the technology with Arthur D. Little Enterprises Inc. of Cambridge, Mass., a company that helps inventors commercialize their ideas. By next spring, Iggulden expects his technology to be built into several brand-name VCRs.

Commercial Brake ($200) is being produced by Arista Technologies Inc. in Hauppauge, N.Y. To find stores in your area that sell it, call (800) 5-ARISTA.

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