Parents who worry about the quality of their child care may soon have a Big Brother to leave behind: a camouflaged video-surveillance system called Babywatch. Developed by Total Recall Corp. of Spring Valley, N.Y., in conjunction with Sony Corp., it consists of a somewhat inconspicuous speckled white box, 11 inches long and 4 inches tall, that holds a camera and a screen on which to view the tape. Up to five hours of video and audio can be recorded--making for fascinating viewing as the baby-sitter flips channels and calls friends. With an adapter, the tapes can be played on a VCR.
Total Recall President Jordan Heilweil says the Sony camera's ability to record in low light makes it ideal for surveillance. He claims that the camera's wide-angle lens is virtually undetectable because it is as small as the speckles. Heilweil figures the system would be too expensive to buy, so he plans to rent the units at $199 for three days--probably long enough to calm your fears about your child-care help.