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Tag Archives: Spygear

iOS Controlled Rover Spy Tank Apparently Has No Idea What Spying’s All About

Rover App-Controlled Spy Tank (Image courtesy Brookstone)
By Andrew Liszewski

It’s been a while since we brought you a good piece of spygear. And that’s probably because 99% of the spy gear consumers can get their hands on is complete rubbish. Case in point, this Rover Spy Tank. Effective spying requires cunning, stealth and speed. And I’m sure this thing possesses none of those attributes. Like most RC toys, its collection of plastic gears and components probably makes it easy to hear coming from a mile away. And there’s a reason bears that live outside of a polar region don’t rely on white fur for camouflage.

I’m also fairly certain the Rover’s built-in video camera suffers from Strabismus, or lazy eye. Because while the live video feed clearly shows that dog in the center of the iPad’s display, the tank is actually looking off to the side. I’m afraid to say it, but if James Bond had a similar condition, he’d be yanked out of service in no time. As a novel way to harass co-workers, siblings or even the family dog, the Rover does have some merit. It creates its own wifi network which allows you to connect and control it with your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad. While both audio and video are beamed back in real-time, allowing you to control it from afar. It can also be steered via on-screen controls, or by tilting and rotating your iOS device and letting the gyros translate your movements. $149.99 from Brookstone, while the accompanying app is free.

[ Rover App-Controlled Spy Tank ] VIA [ The Green Head ]

Prism 200c Through-Wall Radar Backpack Clearly Designed For Cool, Nonchalant Spies

Prism 200c (Images courtesy Cambridge Consultants)
By Andrew Liszewski

Cambridge Consultants’ Prism through-wall radar product line has been around for a few years now, but the latest version, the 200c pictured above, is one of the more inconspicuous iterations. Using ultra-wideband signals the device is able to see through walls made of wood, concrete or bricks and provide a 3-D view of human movement and positions from front, side and overhead angles, making it easier to determine a threat situation before entering a building.

And because the latest version is one of the smallest and lightest yet, it can easily be hidden in a backpack allowing someone to simply lean back against a wall while wearing it to glean useful tactical info. The images produced by the Prism 200c system are then transmitted in real-time to a nearby PC or even a handheld device for analyzing, so the user doesn’t look like they’re actively spying on what’s going on inside. As for the price? Since it’s being targeted at police and military organizations, you’ll probably need a good chunk of government funding to afford one.

[ PR – New design of through-wall radar enables increased covert surveillance ] VIA [ Fast Company ]

The CIA Has A Flickr Gallery Including Photos Of Some Of Their Declassified Toys

CIA's Spy Gear (Images courtesy the CIA)
By Andrew Liszewski

Easily the best part of the old James Bond films was when 007 stopped by Q’s laboratory to load up on multi-function gadgets, and occasionally pick up his new ride. But it turns out that Q’s creations didn’t only exist in the imaginations of Hollywood propmakers. The CIA actually had their own team dedicated to making authentic spy gadgets, and as part of recently relaunching their website, they now have a Flickr gallery showing off some of their declassified toys.

Charlie the robot fish was built to study underwater robot technology, and came complete with a pressurized hull, a ballast system for diving and ascending, wireless communications and even a propulsion system in his tail. And the roots and um… what appears to be ‘droppings’ are actually Cold War-era seismic intrusion detectors that can pick up the movement of people or animals up to 300 meters away and alert a nearby spy thanks to a built-in antenna and transmitter.

CIA's Spy Gear (Images courtesy the CIA)

And if you’ve ever wondered if someone has tampered with your mail, there’s a good chance they might of thanks to this letter removal device. Its pincers could be slipped into the unsealed gap at the top of an envelope and then discreetly extract the contents after rolling them up. Note to self: never mail a check to the CIA…

[ Flickr – CIAgov’s photostream ] VIA [ Slashdot ]

Sound Recording USB Flash Drive Has Me Suspiciously Eyeing A Mountain Of CES Press Kits

Sound Recording USB Flash Drive (Images courtesy Amazon)
By Andrew Liszewski

So we returned from CES this year with around 180GBs of USB flash drives, mostly from press kits and the like. But now paranoia has me suspiciously eyeing that bag of drives, wondering which ones might be recording my conversations, since a few of them look exactly like this little invasion of privacy. It’s got 2GB of internal memory, but more importantly, a built-in mic capable of recording any and all audio in a 16-foot radius at the flick of a switch.

It captures directly to WAV files giving you about 4 1/2 hours of continuous recording, and of course charging the drive and/or recovering the recordings is accomplished by connecting it to your PC via the USB connector. It’s not the most elaborate piece of spygear we’ve ever covered, but to be honest I think it’s one that people will least suspect. And it’s just $19.99 available from Amazon.

[ Amazon – 2GB Flash Drive Memory Spy Audio Digital Voice Sound Record Recorder ] VIA [ Coolest Gadgets ]

Mynah Bluetooth Cellphone Recorder

Mynah Bluetooth Cellphone Recorder (Image courtesy Spygadgets)
By Andrew Liszewski

Even if you’re not an investigative reporter, private eye or just plain creepy, there are a lot of times when being able to record a telephone conversation could save your butt. In the past, wires and microphones were an essential part of documenting a call, but now all you need is this compact Mynah handset. Named after a bird that’s capable of mimicking humans, the handset connects to your cellphone via Bluetooth and has enough storage to record 340+ hours of calls on its lengthiest setting. Obviously if you want higher quality, you’ll be able to record less.

It has a host of features for documenting the date, time, number and duration of a call, and you can set it to record everything carte blanche, or only when you specifically tell it to. And like with a TiVo if you get halfway through a call and realize you probably should have recorded it, the Mynah actually records it all along and will simply save the entire call when you tell it to. The recordings can then be uploaded to your PC via a miniUSB connection, and on a single charge the handset is good for about 8 hours of record time. The Mynah won’t be officially shipping until December 28, but you can order one now from their site for $249.

[ Mynah Bluetooth Cellphone Recorder ] VIA [ The Gadgeteer ]

Spy Camera T-Shirt Cleverly Hides The Lens In The Most Obvious Spot

Electronic Spy Camera Shirt (Images courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

Sometimes the best hiding spot is right out in the open, and that’s exactly the philosophy behind ThinkGeek’s latest creation, the Electronic Spy Camera Shirt. The tee features a faux movie poster graphic for a non-existent film called From Tokyo With Love, with the hero looking through the lens of a camera. But it turns out behind that camera is an actual lens for a VGA resolution spy cam.

A remote wired trigger, which can be stashed in your pocket, is used to snap up to 150 covert pics before you need to dump them to a PC via a USB cable, and presumably the 3xAAA batteries are more than enough to get you through an entire mission. Like most electronically enhanced tees the high-tech bits are completely removable for washing purposes, and it’s available now from ThinkGeek for $39.99.

[ Electronic Spy Camera Shirt ] VIA [ Chip Chick ]

SpyNet Mission Video Watch With Optional Snake Cam Accessory

SpyNet Mission Video Watch With Optional Snake Cam (Image courtesy ThinkGeek)
By Andrew Liszewski

ThinkGeek’s a little vague when it comes to the tech specs on this SpyNet Mission Video Watch, but since it’s able to capture upwards of 20 minutes of video I’m going to assume it’s not quite HD-capable. But what keeps it from being yet another piece of craptastic spygear is the optional Snake Cam accessory which plugs directly into the watch and lets you capture video from around corners, or even when covertly hidden somewhere on your person.

The watch also has its own built-in camera which can be monitored via its 1.4-inch TFT LCD display, and can be used to capture stills and audio in addition to video. And since it’s technically designed for kids there are even downloadable games in the form of spy missions making it extra… um… fun! The watch itself sells for a reasonable $59.99, so don’t expect too much from it, while the Snake Cam accessory, which I do not consider optional, is an extra $29.99.

[ SpyNet Mission Video Watch With Optional Snake Cam ] VIA [ GadgetReview ]

Casio DS-5500 Desktop Calculator Spycam

Casio DS-5500 Desktop Calculator Spycam (Images courtesy Chinavasion)
By Andrew Liszewski

It isn’t the first calculator spycam I’ve written about, nor will it probably be my last, but this model has something very important going for it. It’s built into an actual Casio DS-5500 desktop calculator, which is probably the best office camouflage you could ever imagine, since no one, not even accountants, will ever give it a second glance.

When not capturing 640×480, 30fps covert video via the pinhole lens you can see on the side, this DS-5500 works like any other calculator. It’s even solar powered, though the video electronics are powered by a rechargeable li-ion battery on the inside. There’s 4GB of memory on board which is good for capturing about an hour and a half of footage (the battery’s good for 2 hours) and the video files can be offloaded via a miniUSB port hidden inside the battery compartment underneath. ~$40 from Chinavasion.

[ Casio DS-5500 Desktop Calculator Spycam ] VIA [ 7Gadgets ]

Covert Video Watch Manages To Capture HD Footage

HD Video Watch (Image courtesy Spycatcher)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m pretty tired of all the supposed ‘spy’ gear on the market because to be perfectly honest, if it wasn’t developed by the CIA or MI6, it ends up being pretty crappy. But I’m cautiously optimistic that this video-capable covert watch might actually not suck that much. The design is surprisingly something that most people would wear, so it doesn’t look like there’s a video camera stashed inside, and instead of capturing sub-webcam quality 640×480 clips, it’s actually able to record pseudo-HD quality 1280×960 VGA videos at 30 fps.

The watch is only water and dust resistant so you won’t be capturing any spectacular underwater footage, but a little rain shouldn’t put it out of commission either. A subtle light indicator lets you know when the recording function has been activated, but it only remains on briefly so others don’t realize why you’re awkwardly pointing your watch face at them, and all videos are stamped with the date and time for later analysis. Somewhere on the watch you’ll find a miniUSB connection for charging the watch and transferring videos to your PC, and the ~$450 price tag from Spycatcher makes me think this might actually be more than just an expensive novelty.

[ Watch with HD Camera CCTV/Stills + sound ]