Every movie secret agent and spy needs a set of cool spy gadgets – from James Bond to Jason Bourne, tools and high-tech gadgets are an integral part of any great spy movie. Some of the best spy movie gadgets were introduced and seen in the cinema before technology got around to catching up and made these products a reality.
The first spy gadget that was ahead of its time was the phone from the 1997 James Bond movie “Tomorrow Never Dies”. Not only was it a cell phone but also a stun gun, a fingerprint scanner and a remote control to Bond’s BMW. It’s only over a decade later that cell phones are now incredibly prevalent and we have the ability to control our cars with a cell phone. In 1997, that idea was simply unheard of.
Some of these gadgets introduced in movies have been around for years, and have become improved and more technologically advanced over time, including such as spy cameras, bug detectors, wiretaps, hidden audio recorders, computer and GPS trackers. Bug detectors and phone taps first appeared in the James Bond movie “From Russia with Love”.
Advanced computer software is probably the most recent in technological advances. Computer trackers or spyware is a software that aids in gathering information about either an organization or person within an organization and sends the gathered information to another entity or is able to assert control over the subjects computer without their knowledge. Some spyware such as keyloggers may be installed by the owner intentionally in order to monitor users. Computer hacking and keylogging software is featured prominently in many spy and action movies, including the movie “Swordfish” and the James Bond classic “Goldeneye”. This tool has evolved to include monitoring of cellphones and tablets too.
A GPS tracking unit is also an important spy tool. Essentially, GPS trackers receive a signal and calculate the coordinates. Passive GPS trackers simply log the coordinates of the device and store it in its internal memory. Active GPS tracking devices push the coordinates of the device (as well as other information such as speed and altitude) to a specified server that can store and analyze the data. Personal tracking devices are often used by law enforcement – as an ankle monitor for a bail condition or to track those suspected of severe crimes. In some sports, these devices are used to monitor if a participant is cheating by taking unexpected shortcuts. A GPS tracking device was used in the movie Rat Race for this purpose. There are also new powerful tracking tiles that enhance the now old bluetooth connection technology. Yes, the AirTags and SmartTags are now very popular tracking options, even with their notification and presence awareness notications.
Spy gadgets have come a long way, and some are still a long way from being reality - such as the perfect masks from Mission Impossible and the tracking serum from Alias. But, these advances could be just around the corner or in your next favorite spy movie!