There have been 23 Bond movies made in the past 50 years — full of lethal, handy, futuristic, awesome and sometimes funny gadgets. Most are still too fantastic to be real, but some have transcended the silver screen to become naturalised residents of the Real World. These are our favourites.
Homing beacon, Goldfinger (1964)
Tracking devices are a spy-world staple, now available to anyone, regardless of security clearance. In the photo are Digital Angel products made by Applied Digital Solutions; they provide satellite location tracking for individuals.
Picture: David Friedman/Getty Images
Lasers, Goldfinger (1964)
Remember when Auric Goldfinger tried to cut James Bond in half (nuts-first) with a laser powerful enough to cut steel?. Well, that same technology is now available to anyone interested in amusing a cat. And, thanks to the Internet, even the convenience store model pictured can be turned into something a little more villainous.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Robert F. Bukaty/AP
Remote-Controlled Doors, Thunderball (1965)
In 1965 this technology only about 10 years old, so the audience was surely awed when Emilio Largo pushed a button on a handheld device and opened a secret door to the SPECTRE briefing room. Today such doors are found in most suburban homes, concealing secret stashes of old VHS tapes, empty bottles (“gonna take those in this weekend, seriously”), and broken bicycles.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Wesley/Keystone/Getty Images
Gyroplane, You Only Live Twice (1967)
This is a Wallis WA-116 Series 1 gyroplane (codename Little Nellie). In the movie it has rockets, machine guns, flamethrowers and missiles. Though only released in very limited quantities to private citizens, these little birds were real! Sans weapons, natch.
Fingerprint Scanner, Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Tiffany Case and her unique biometric scanner were fooled by Bond’s fake fingerprint. These days the technology is so smart and widespread that there might be a small fingerprint scanner in your notebook computer-and it’s probably way too sophisticated to be fooled by a lifeless prosthesis.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Minox Camera, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969)
Bond uses a small Minox A IIIs Camera in this movie. Spy cameras became so popular in the late-sixties and on, that you could find classified ads most science and tech magazines. These days: eBay.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Hustvedt/Wikimedia Commons
Seiko Wristwatch, For Your Eyes Only (1981)
Who cares that the Seiko H357 5040 can’t receive digital messages or be used as a walkie-talkie like in this Bond movie. It’s still hot, and I’d wear one.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions/Vintage LCD
Polarising Sunglasses, A View to a Kill (1985)
With these special circular polarised sunglasses, Bond could see through tinted windows. Big deal: Oakley made sunglasses that not only had polarised lenses, but featured integrated headphones, a 128MB music player and a built-in bounty hunter.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Reed Saxon/AP
Ring camera, A View to a Kill (1985)
Nowadays miniaturised cameras are everywhere-like in the “Camer-ing”, which is a discreet digital camera built in a ring. This neat device is designed by Hyeonsik Studio & Jeon Yengwon, and we’re counting the minutes until it reaches production.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Yanko Design
Sony Ericsson K800 Casino Royale (2006)
Back in 2006, the Sony Ericsson K800i phone cyber-shot camera was a pretty nice bit of kit: GPS and a fast 3.2MP digital camera is at your secret service. These days, well, it’s declassified, to say the least.
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions
Profile Touchscreen, Casino Royale (2006)
At MI6 headquarters, Bond’s employers use a Profile Touchscreen Device in order to gather information about possible suspects. There’s no magic in this digital table — it’s basically the Microsoft-Samsung PixelSense (formerly known as Surface).
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//Microsoft
Jetpack, Thunderball (1965).
At last: the coolest James Bond gadget ever featured. The Bell Rocket Belt — also known as the simulated Lunar Flying Vehicle (LFV). It was built by Bell Aerospace for NASA in the mid-Sixties. So, um, where’s mine?
Picture: Danjaq/Eon Productions//NASA/USGS
Have a favourite Bond gadget that we missed? Own a Bond gadget? Tell us in the comments below.