The trouble with most telephone headsets is that they make you look a lot like Judy, the (now-retired) Time-Life operator. The ArialPhone may be the antidote. Perfect for free agents, its wireless connection to your PC and its light, trim design keep you connected and mobile. And the device's speech-recognition technology allows you to place calls while you're letting in the dog or dealing with the FedEx guy. The ArialPhone base, which attaches to your PC, also provides an interface with Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express: Just say the name of the person you want to call (via the Internet or the old-fashioned way), and you're there. The phone works within a 150-foot range of the base (and through walls), and future software will offer voice control of digital-entertainment components. The ArialPhone costs $399. Visit ArialPhone on the Web (www.arialphone.com).
A version of this article appeared in the April 2001 issue of Fast Company magazine.