28 Glimpses Into North Korea's Technological... Prowess?

By now, you may think that North Korea is only good for nuclear bluster and general insanity. But beneath that strange veneer lies actual technology, architecture and design. Some of it is just a little more polished than others.

Top picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


North Koreans look at a new homegrown tablet at a trade fair at the Three Revolution Exhibition Hall in Pyongyang on September 25, 2012.

Picture: Vincent Yu/AP


A North Korean woman uses a mobile phone on a footpath in Pyongyang. About one million people in North Korea own mobile phones, although they're not allowed to make international calls or go online.

Picture: Kim Kwang Hyon/AP


A Korean People's Army artillery unit participates in a live fire drill in North Korea. Image released on February 25, 2013.

Picture: KCNA/KNS/AP


A televised shot of North Korean workers operating equipment at North Korea's main nuclear reactor in Yongbyon, February 22, 2008.

Picture: APTN/AP


A North Korean student works at a computer terminal inside a computer lab at Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang, North Korea, on January 8, 2013.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


Scientists and technicians at the General Satellite Control and Command Center on the outskirts of Pyongyang watch the launch of the Unha-3 rocket from a launch site on the west coast, in the village of Tongchang-ri, about 56km from the Chinese border city of Dandong, North Korea, on December 12, 2012.

Picture: AP


Scientists and technicians work on their computers to control the launch of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket at the General Satellite Control and Command Centre.

Picture: AP


A large Toshiba TV screen shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-un attending the Supreme People's Assembly's yearly meeting at a hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, September 25, 2012.

Picture: Vincent Yu/AP


North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in 2012, reacting on a ride as he attends the completion ceremony of the Rungna People's Pleasure Ground in Pyongyang.

Picture: KCNA/KNS/AP


A North Korean vehicle carrying what appears to be a new missile passes by during a mass military parade in the Kim Il Sung Square in Pyongyang, to celebrate 100 years since the birth of the late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung on April 15, 2012.

Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP


A little girl take photos during a soccer match between women's grassroots teams at Kim Il Sung Stadium on April 3, 2011, in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Picture: Feng Li/Getty Images


The local trolley buses in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Picture: Feng Li/Getty Images


A North Korean woman crosses the street near the semi-completed 105-storey Ryugyong Hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, April 26, 2012.

Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP


North Korean military jets take part in an air drill while North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, not seen in the photo, inspects an undisclosed airbase in North Korea, 2012.

Picture: KCNA/KNS/AP


Puhung Subway station in Pyongyang is situated more than 100m below the surface. It is also a nuclear shelter.

Picture: Feng Li/Getty Images


A woman swipes a North Korean debit card at the cash register of a hotel restaurant in Pyongyang, North Korea. A new culture of commerce has arisen, with China as its inspiration and source. The new consumerism is part of a campaign to build up the economy, and with it the image of new leader Kim Jong-un.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


North Korean music cassette tapes are displayed for sale at Pyongyang Department Store No. 1 in downtown Pyongyang.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


A shop employee waits for customers at Pothongmun Street meat and fish shop in downtown Pyongyang.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


Pyongyang's May Day stadium is the world's largest, with a capacity of 150,000.

Picture: Feng Li/Getty Images


North Korean children learn to use the computer in a primary school.

Picture: Feng Li/Getty Images


A man records video of the scenery as he and fellow hikers climb to a peak of Mount Kumgang, North Korea.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


Not ebook, pop-up book. A North Korean teacher holds open a children's book, which depicts a US soldier killing a Korean woman with a hatchet, in a library room at Kaeson Kindergarten.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


Rocket science in everyday life: a 2013 calendar, showing a picture of North Korea's Unha-3 rocket, hangs inside a hair salon in Pyongyang.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


Two North Korean men have their digital photo taken by a relative after finishing games of bowling at a Pyongyang bowling alley, 2012.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


A North Korean drone (probably a mockup) passes by during the mass military parade to celebrate 100 years since the birth of the late North Korean founder Kim Il-sung. Note the old camera on the left.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP


A North Korean librarian monitors the usage of computers at an electronic library at the Kim Il Sung University in Pyongyang. Hardware: HP. Software: North Korean original.

Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP


North Korean guide Kim Won-ho shows journalists a model depicting a North Korean satellite over planet earth at the Three Revolutions exhibition hall. According to North Korea's official version of things, the country's first venture into space was 14 years ago, when the "Bright Shining Star 1" satellite roared into orbit and began broadcasting marching music praising Kim Il Sung.

Picture: Ng Han Guan/AP


These two Instagram photos were taken by AP photo reporters early winter in 2013, when foreigners were allowed for the first time to bring mobile phones into North Korea. Now the local service provider, Koryolink, is allowing foreigners to access the internet on a data capable 3G connection on mobile phones.

Picture: David Guttenfelder/AP//Jean H. Lee/AP

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