Technology: Reach Out and See Someone

Picture phones have been just around the corner for 30 years. Now they are finally starting to appear in U.S. homes and offices. Since last fall, Mitsubishi Electric of America has sold 64,000 of its new VisiTel units, a $400 device that looks like a TV with a 4 1/2-in. screen but also has a built- in camera lens and a cord that plugs into a telephone jack. Callers who pose in front of a VisiTel and push the button marked "send" can swap black- and- white "snapshots" of each other over the phone lines -- provided, of course, that the...

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