5 Most Charming James Bond Gadgets
About the Author
Whilst not strictly civil, there’s few people I know who don’t enjoy the brilliantly engineered gadgets of Bond (that’s James Bond) . -Ed.
As the world is saturated with technology that would have seemed like a dream twenty years ago, Bond films have become increasingly demure about their use of gadgets. We live in times where false fingerprints, DIY wrist-mounted darts and robot dogs are a reality. How can the Bond think tank compete?
In celebration of a demi-century of Bond, here are some of the wonderful gadgets cooked up by engineering mastermind Q. Some of them are ridiculous. All of them are either an engineer’s dream… or nightmare. Some of them are so believable that rumour has it the CIA asked the film producers for more information…
Sit back, put up your weaponised shoes and enjoy.
The Dagger Shoe
From Russia with Love
Who hasn’t secretly found themselves in a situation where they wanted a dagger in their shoes? It would give that sly kick under the restaurant table some… meaning.
First seen in From Russia With Love, the dagger shoe is a sneaky bit of engineering. Any fool can, for better or worse, transport something sharp and slicey in their footwear – but it takes a mechanical mind to create a blade that stays hidden safely, comes out when you want it to and remains external until you want it to slide back in.
Anyone who’s anyone can make a submersible these days. We now have one-man vehicles that can take film directors obsessed with the colour blue (looking at you, James Cameron) to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. They can even, and this is the tricky bit, return him safe and whole to the surface again.
It takes a very special kind of mind – the lateral-minded genius of Q, to be specific – to create a one-man submarine that is genuinely unlikely to be useful in any given situation.
You Only Live Twice? You Only Use Once would be more like it.
Mini Scuba Tank
This little beauty saved Sean Connery’s life, allowing him a whole extra four minutes of breathing time when he lost his scuba tank due to a bit of fisticuffs.
This mini scuba tank lacks the comedy value of, say, a phone booth trap. Nevertheless, it’s believable tech. At the time it was considered to be very believable. Legend has it that the CIA contacted the producer of Thunderball to discuss… possibilities.
Please imagine that last word said in a sibilant, white cat stroking whisper. It works better that way.
Quantum of Solace
It’s time to get a little more modern. Recent Bond gadgets have been gritty and pragmatic. However, Bond gadgeteers cottoned onto the multitouch trend in Quantum of Solace, providing a best-case scenario with a few fantasy tweaks for technology that’s currently available.
The multitouch table is a far cry from George Lazenby using his copying machine to perform safecracking duties (essential for all administration staff, surely?). It’s nevertheless charming in the way it places faith in sleekness over practicality. Reaching the middle would be quite a stretch, even for the longest of arms.
A real engineer would have ensured this table functioned as efficiently as it looked pretty.
Also, whatever you do, don’t spill coffee on it.
Live and Let Die
Put simply, Roger Moore’s watch can do anything. It’s a miniature saw. It’s an ingenious lady-disrobing magnet.
It’s also, would you believe, a watch…
Remarkably, the Submariner multitasks as a feat of not only engineering but also brand placement. Are you, for instance, aware that Bond’s watch is made by… Rolex?
This feature has regretfully left out the bagpipe flamethrower, the dragon flamethrower (which even Bond said was ‘novel’), the wheelchair rocket and a host of other quixotic gadgets that made it out of Q’s brain and into Bond’s pocket / car / helicopter / bedside.
However, it’s worth taking a moment to salute Q and all ingenious minds in engineering today, real or imagined.
After all, it’s essential for gadgets to be useful. It becomes a View to a Thrill when they truly inspire…