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Spy Tech

ASTON MARTIN DB5
(GOLDFINGER, 1964)
DO PAY ATTENTION: This slick motor’s “interesting modifications” include a revolving numberplate, a homing device, a smokescreen, an oilslick, a bulletproof screen, machine-guns and (“don’t touch it!”) an ejector seat.
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “GPS is well established, every cab in London’s got one. There’s nothing problematic about fitting machine-guns, smoke machines and oil slicks. But a revolving number plate would need more than four countries on it.”
COST: “DB5s are about 60 grand. You can buy an ejector seat second-hand for 400 quid. A nightclub smoke machine’s £100. And if you can find someone to sell you a machine-gun...”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “A bit Heath Robinson, but one of the best gadgets.” 9/10

UNDERWATER BREATHING DEVICE
(THUNDERBALL, 1965)
DO PAY ATTENTION: “Try to be a little less than your usual frivolous self, 007,” admonishes Q, before producing this apparatus, good for four minutes, and which closes to a convenient pocket size. “That’s assuming one has a convenient pocket,” quips Bond.
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “I’ve not come across anything that’s that small and would let you breathe for four minutes. How useful would it actually be? Might as well hold your breath.”
COST: No such thing exists.
MISSION WORTHINESS: “Don’t really think much of that.” 3/10

TELEPHONE VOICE IMPERSONATOR
(DIAMONDS ARE FOREVER, 1971)
DO PAY ATTENTION: Masquerading as an adversary, Bond phones Blofeld. “What’s the matter with your voice, Bert? Have you got a cold?” asks Blofeld. “Never mind about that,” snorts 007. “I just saw James Bond in the casino.”
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “What you have to do is take the voice you’re impersonating and store it in a computer, recording those exact same sentences. In which case why don’t you just play the tape? You know the application they are developing this for, though? Karaoke.”
COST:“You can buy a voice scrambler for 100 quid.”
MISSION WORTH-INESS: “Great idea, but not really feasible yet.” 5/10

MAGNETIC ROLEX
(LIVE AND LET DIE, 1973)
DO PAY ATTENTION: “By pulling out this button, it turns the watch into a hyper-intensified magnetic field, powerful enough to deflect the path of a bullet,” explains Bond. “I’m very tempted to test that theory right now,” snaps M. “And if you wouldn’t mind, Commander... my spoon.”
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “The catastrophic damage done to this Rolex is totally unnecessary – because if you’ve got a magnetic field and it’s a mechanical watch, it would stop. Plus, everything magnetic’s going to come flying. And what’s a bullet made from, isn’t it lead?”
COST: “Second-hand, a period Rolex costs about a grand.”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “Totally wouldn’t work, but the Rolex is cool.” 4/10

3D VISUAL IDENTIGRAPH
(FOR YOUR EYES ONLY, 1981)
DO PAY ATTENTION: Several pages of plot development are overcome as Q’s identikit system (a green-screen Amstrad plugged into Interpol files) enables Bond to trace his foe.
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “The police do use computers already to identikit. And face recognition software? That’s being worked on.”
COST: “At the Florida Superbowl they used a trial system on the crowd. It cost $30,000.”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “The gadget itself is a hoot. You have a dot matrix printer printing out a high-resolution picture in about a second!” 4/10

 

PALM-READ CAMERA GUN
(LICENCE TO KILL, 1989)
DO PAY ATTENTION: “Once I’ve programmed it,” Q informs Dangerous Dalton, “nobody can use the gun but you.”
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “Hasselblad is the make to have. And fingerprint recognition is a hot topic. Gun makers are working on it.”
COST: “About £1,000 for the body, 500 quid for each lens. There’s actually a website which shows you how to make one into a gun.”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “Such a great camera. Such inappropriate use of it.” 6/10

MINIATURE JET PLANE
(OCTOPUSSY, 1983)
DO PAY ATTENTION: “See you in Miami,” mugs jowly Roger as a horse box opens, the rear end of a gelding is flipped up and a micro jet emerges to barnstorm some non-specific Hispanic bandidos.
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “This is actually a real plane, except for the foldaway wings. It’s called the AcroStar mini-jet.”
COST: “You’re better off going for a little propeller plane – it’s a couple of hundred grand.”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “Great scene, great gadget and Roger looked so comfortable in it for a man of his advancing years.” 7/10... “For the sheer novelty of flying out of a horse’s arse.”

EXPLODING PEN
(GOLDENEYE, 1995)
DO PAY ATTENTION: Unwilling to entrust rookie Brosnan with anything complex, Q whips out a ballpoint. “Three clicks arms... three disarms...” Bond reaches for a baguette. “Don’t touch that!” yells Q. “It’s my lunch!”
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “I hate to say it, but a pen is a great disguise for a grenade.”
COST: “Exploding cap pens go for a quid.”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “Not in the same league as the Aston Martin or Rolex.” 4/10

REMOTE-CONTROL BEEMER
(TOMORROW NEVER DIES, 1997)
DO PAY ATTENTION: “All the usual refinements – machine-guns, rockets and GPS tracking system,” says Q.
OUR EXPERT SAYS: “I don’t see why you can’t have a remote-controlled car.”
COST: “The BMW 750i is about £75K new. But you can play with a remote-controlled car on the PlayStation game for 10 quid.”
MISSION WORTHINESS: “One of the greatest gadgets of the series.” 10/10

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