1 Panasonic 3DO Multiplayer. If you think you've seen graphics, wait till you | check out the jaw-dropping visuals offered by this interactive system, which is bidding to be one of the main vehicles on the data superhighway. With its CD-quality sound and 32-bit processor, the Multiplayer is the most powerful video-game system yet. Designed by Silicon Valley start-up 3DO and made by Panasonic, the $700 device is being backed by AT&T, Time Warner and MCA.
2 Alpha-Hydroxy Acids Although they may sound unpleasant if not somewhat painful, alpha-hydroxy acids were all the rage in cosmetics this year. AHAS are acids derived from fruit, sugar or milk that are used in beauty creams to minimize wrinkles. Available largely by prescription until now, AHAS have turned up in skin-care products by Elizabeth Arden, Estee Lauder, Revlon and Avon.
3 Barney Showing no sign that he's headed for extinction, the purple creature that parents love to hate grew into a dinosaur-size business in 1993. Sales of Barney-related merchandise, from talking dolls to music videos, topped $500 million. Next up: a radio program, a network TV special and a feature film.
4 Ford Mustang Although it reached the mellow age of 30, the Ford Mustang is still sporting thoroughbred credentials. Ford has rejuvenated the aging pony car with a complete overhaul, which includes a cockpit-type interior and a more powerful engine. The Mustang has already driven off with Motor Trend's Car of the Year award.
5 Derivatives Perhaps the most profitable and certainly the most arcane investments of the year were something called derivative securities. Derivatives -- abstractions of stocks, bonds and futures -- are a huge business ($4.5 trillion in contracts) but pose a danger to world financial markets because of lack of regulation. As such, they are often called the junk bonds of the '90s.
6 Motorola PowerPC Chip Intel rolled out its new Pentium chip, but Motorola stole the spotlight with its PowerPC microprocessor. Produced in partnership with IBM and Apple, the PowerPC could pose the first serious challenge to Intel's dominance of the $67.7 billion desktop market.
7 PDAs Finally, computers that are truly personal. Called PDAS (personal digital assistants), these wireless, hand-held PCs function as everything from a checkbook organizer to a fax machine. In many cases, the pen-based devices can even make and take cellular telephone calls. ! 8 Bose Audio System Listeners got an earful from Bose as it unveiled the sleek Lifestyle 5 Music System. At $1,499, it includes a compact-disc player, a remote control that works around corners or through walls, and compact, cube-shaped speakers that deliver crisp, distortion-free sound.
9 Mattus' Ice Cream For aging boomers who want to have it both ways, Reuben Mattus introduced what may be the perfect treat: low-fat ice cream. With no chalky fat substitutes or bulking agents to spoil the flavor, the frozen dessert tastes like the real thing. It contains only 3% fat, vs. 16% to 22% for superpremium brands like Haagen-Dazs.