I HAVE read rather a lot about virtual reality gloves and other three-dimensional pointing devices, but understand they are quite costly and in many cases unavailable in Hong Kong. Is there anything I can get here that will be good for playing games such as Doom and useful for general work, but won't cost me an arm and a leg? JOHN BRADLEY Clearwater Bay What luck! I just received a brochure about a new-fangled 3-D pointing device that, if its manufacturers are to be believed, will solve everything from repetitive stress to eye strain while giving you a whole new 3-D experience. Called the Owl, the device consists of a ring-like transmitter that wraps around the user's finger. The transmitter sends ultrasonic signals to a microprocessor-equipped base unit which is mounted on the computer's monitor and is connected to the machine's serial port. The base unit is equipped with three separate ultrasonic receivers which continually calculate the Owl's position and relay it to the computer as you move the cursor by moving your finger around in 3-D space, rather than on a 2-D surface as you would with a traditional pointing device. According to Pegasus Technologies Ltd, the company that makes the Owl, the device is especially useful in the CAD/CAM, robotics and medical electronics fields, making modelling and rendering software easier to use. It is also said to be good for games - Pegasus makes special mention of Doom - with 3-D effects. The Owl works with all IBM compatible PCs - both desktops and laptops - and is compatible with DOS, Windows 3.1 and Windows 95. It is also fully compatible with any application that uses a two-button mouse, and can even be used simultaneously with a standard mouse. The Owl costs $695 in Hong Kong and the price includes the pointing device, the frame (with sensors), driver diskette and booklet. Some shops that sell it bundle it with a game or two and raise the price to match For more information on the Owl, telephone local distributor Hartfield Trading on 2838-0783. I RECEIVED an interesting piece of news from friends at the Silicon Valley-based news service Edittech. Apparently, a company there has developed a product they hope will keep teenagers from driving around too fast - particularly useful in the wake of news that the US has just abolished the 55-miles-per-hour speed limit. Although teenagers may not be the right target for such a device in Hong Kong - and it will get to Hong Kong eventually - the Transport Department or the police might find it a useful deterrent against speeding offenders. The interesting part is how the system works - in the US, at least. Information from a new driver monitoring device, called DriveRight, tells parents the top speed their teenager reached, how many kilometres were traversed, and whether the car had to make any sudden stops. DriveRight, manufactured by California-based Davis Instruments, sits atop the dashboard and is connected to the driveshaft. The product monitors acceleration and deceleration rates, driving time, top speeds, and mileage. Other features include an alarm that indicates exceeded limits, a password to gain access to the data, and a tampering light that signals if the data has been compromised. Accompanying software lets PC users download the information for record keeping. The DriveRight's three models range from US$195 to US$295 and are available worldwide through value-added resellers. In the US, the system has a three-fold target market that includes corporations, private business people, and parents. The most touted feature of DriveRight is its measure of deceleration, which indicates if a driver needed to make a quick stop. One study noted that deceleration is a good indication safe driving. Now, if the Transport Department would make it compulsory for local taxi and minibus companies to install the devices in their vehicles. It would save them a few dollars in fuel bills, no doubt, and prevent cardiac arrest in a great number of passengers. Of course, any product has to have a negative side . . . especially in America, where opponents of the product claim that a teenager's trial and error years is burdened by the Big Brother nature of DriveRight. Send your questions to Tech Talk, Technology Post, G. P.O. Box 47, Hong Kong, or fax 2680-8167.