In the early days of James Bond, the special spy toys he was given by Q were miniaturized mechanisms, tiny precision tools that could only built by highly skilled engineers in government labs. Now that we are in the digital age, however, many of those sci-fi electronics used by the world’s most famous spy are not only possible, some of them are already a reality. It’s surprisingly easy to make budget versions of some very Bond-like gadgets at home.
You don’t even need specialized tools and parts; a pair of wire strippers, a digital multimeter, a soldering station and a parts catalog from your favorite supplier will usually be enough and all the documentation, schematics and free, open source programs to run everything are easily available online.
The GPS unit in the video is being used to keep track of an atmospheric balloon which would be handy if the balloon also had a camera for spy photos. Of course, Bond would probably need something that he could put together quickly to hide in a super villain’s car and for that the modular nature of Arduino comes into its own.
No soldering or wiring required at all. Put in the microSD card, connect the pins on the three parts and plug in the power and you’re done. Tracking devices also have non-espionage, real world applications as well. The first GPS tracker can be attached to the collar of a dog that’s prone to wandering, sewn into your child’s backpack for safety or taken on hiking trips as part of a survival kit to help rescue teams locate you if you should become lost. The second unit would be perfect for mapping out new trail runs on everything from 4×4’s and dirt bikes to snowboarders and skiers.
Coded Locking Entry
If you’re an international spy, hiding from a nefarious evil genius, you’ll need a way to protect your work from intruders.
This electronic locking keypad system is very basic but could easily be adapted to a door using a simple actuator on the inside to operate the lock. You can program it for any number you wish, from a few digits to a dozen; to make sure it is as secure as possible. However, always take your own memory into account when deciding on how many numbers to use. To get locked out of your own secret hideaway would be quite embarrassing at the least.
Sometimes a coded lock isn’t enough protection for a super spy. You can set up a laser grid system inside your door, of course.
If your enemies are really persistent, or you just really enjoy extreme paintball wars, you can build an automated paintball sentry gun.
This is a much more advanced build and this is one project where you will need more than just a basic set of wire strippers and a DMM and you’ll probably have to dedicate at least a weekend or two of your time. It is incredible though and you can even program it to have a safe color that it won’t track. You just might want to check the laws in your area first. Also use extreme caution and the same safety equipment you would use when paintballing, since a paintball in the eye from two feet away could do more than just sting.
Mobile phones are a dime a dozen these days and it’s hard to believe you’d need a jet pack or a way to drive your car with your Blackberry, but there are plenty of other gadgets to tackle. If nothing else, you can build an alarm clock to help you keep your bomb-diffusing skills in tip-top shape.
Grab your digital multimeter, a microcontroller or two, some wire and your imagination and get to work. The safety of the world may depend on it.
Robert Soto always wanted to be a spy but never had the speed, strength, witty comebacks or appeal with the ladies. Instead he got a degree in electronic engineering and became a professional techie and writer. Who enjoys tampering with the latest technology when not writing about the latest Raspberry Pi kits from Newark.