Feeds

007 hardware: Gadgetry, spyware and things that make you go Boom

Tracking gadgets, stealth comms, underwater cars and more...

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

Weapons of mass discretion

The fact that cigarettes kill is something of which we're now reminded on every packet. But the notion was obviously far from the mind of Bond baddie Ernst Stavro Blofeld, though, when he allowed 007 "one last fag" in 1967's You Only Live Twice.

Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice

Sean Connery in You Only Live Twice. Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Of course, the ciggie in question was equipped with a rocket-propelled bullet, aiding Bond's escape and allowing him to continue puffing custom-made Morlands like they were going out of fashion. They were. But while cigarettes equipped with a fatal dose of shrapnel seem implausible, their deployment in the real-world of espionage is well documented.

In 1954, the Russians sent a spy named Nikolai Khokhlov to Germany with the task of assassination. Khokhlov subsequently defected and revealed the weapon he had been sent to do the dirty with: a fatal pack of ciggies, fitted to fire cyanide-dipped darts instead of mini-rockets. Impressive either way, if you ask me.

Cigarette case gun, Nikolai Khokhlov

Credit: Gehlhausen

As concealed weapons go, though, the ciggie-gun merely scratches the surface. We've seen firepower hidden in gloves, pipes, lipstick, umbrellas and mobile phones. But that shouldn't come as a surprise, really. If manufacturers can produce lethal pistols the size of a human thumb, the potential is there for weapons concealed in practically anything.

Techie timepiece

No 007 film would be complete without a top-notch timepiece brimming with features unlikely to be found in an average Omega. Bond's watches have wowed us with built-in garrottes, Geiger counters and laser-cutting tools, but the timepiece that really takes our fancy packs a magnetic field bullet deflector. Yep, who needs kevlar vests with one of these badboys on your wrist?

Rolex in Live and Let Die

Rolex in Live and Let Die. Credit: Twentieth Century Fox

Unfortunately, that tech will indeed have to remain in the realm of fantasy. A magnetic deflector that stops bullets would not only have to be mammoth in size, but to create electromagnetic fields of such magnitude, a person would need some sort of nuclear reactor strapped to their wrist.

The concept was put through grilling tests on a James Bond special episode of Mythbusters, in which the team claimed the maximum strength of magnetism that can be squeezed into such a watch is roughly 575 Gauss. This had no affect whatsoever on the bullet's trajectory.

In fact, to even slightly affect its direction, they had to not only use rare neodymium-iron-boron magnets, but had to set up 13 of them, totalling over 60,000 Gauss. That would obviously be a struggle to carry, let alone strap to one's wrist, and yet it still wouldn't have prevented Bond taking a round to the chest, even then.

Scientists have found ways to stop atom-sized bullets in their path, but to upscale the device to stop full size ammunition is bordering silly.

The coil-gun - a concept born in the realm of sci-fi - accelerates a magnetic projectiles with a series of coiled electromagnetic-induction wires. While this has yet to be replicated in real life, researchers at the University of Texas have built one that works in reverse apparently, stopping atomic particles in their path after being fired through at 1,118mph (499.79m/s), which is faster than the general speed of a pistol round.

Either way you look at it, you're never going to find yourself protected from bullets with a watch. That doesn't stop us strapping-up with chronometers that push beyond simple time-keeping activities, though. And while I have yet to see one, we could always fit a magnet strong enough to unzip a dress at least. Roger Moore eat your heart out.

Watch in Never Say Never Again

Watch in Never Say Never Again. Credit: MGM

There are plenty of spy-like watches with built-in cameras, sound recorders and 3G mobile capabilities these days, but that appears to be where the tech stops ticking. Lasers strong enough to cut through material may have shrunk in size too, but their deployment in a watch remains a bit farfetched. Which is a tad unfortunate for spies who find themselves padlocked securely into duffel bags with diminishing oxygen.

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

Next page: Gears of awe

More from The Register

next story
Swiss wildlife park serves up furry residents to visitors
'It's ecological' says spokesman, now how would you like your Bambi done?
Win a year’s supply of chocolate (no tech knowledge required)
Over £200 worth of the good stuff up for grabs
Facebook's Zuckerberg in EBOLA VIRUS FIGHT: Billionaire battles bug
US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention contacted as site supremo coughs up
Internet finally ready to replace answering machine cassette tape
It's a simple message and I'm leaving out the whistles and bells
ePassport to Transnistria: NEXTIFYING the Nation State with BONG
Hey the Man, you can't geoblock distributed democracy
Red Bull does NOT give you wings, $13.5m lawsuit says so
Website letting consumers claim $10 cash back crashes after stampede
Down-under record: Australian gets $140k for pussy
'Tiffany' closes deal - 'it's more common to offer your wife', says agent
Trolls have DARK TETRAD of personality defects, say trickcyclists
Think psychopathy and BDSM dungeons, not desktops
The iPAD launch BEFORE it happened: SPECULATIVE GUFF ahead of actual event
Nerve-shattering run-up to the pre-planned known event
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.