There are many reasons to love James Bond. He’s handsome, he’s suave, he saves the world, and, best of all, he has access to tech we can only dream of. As is inevitably the case with such a long-running series, many of Bond’s gadgets start as science fiction, only to eventually find their way into real life. Taking a look at a few standouts and their modern real-world applications, we want to see where James’ helpful devices have found their way into the contemporary landscape.
First featured in 1985’s A View to a Kill, the concept of spy glasses was a novel one for the time. Though opinions on the film were split according to its Metacritic scores, the technology was, as always, on point. The glasses featured were fairly low tech in their application, allowing Bond to see through dark tints and eliminate reflections. Today, we can do a lot better.
Not only is this feature easily possible with modern glasses, but we can also go above and beyond with cutting-edge augmented reality shades. Not much larger than a common pair of specs, save for the power and data cable, modern AR glasses are hugely versatile. Able to give real-time readouts and displays of data, these new devices are the future.
For somebody as adept at breaking in as James Bond, a regular key lock might as well be made from butter. Much more problematic are the biometric security measures as first seen in 1971’s Diamond’s Are Forever. To bypass this security system, Bond had to generate an entire fake fingerprint scanned from a guard, and modern systems are even harder to trick than that.
As explored by this ExpressVPN article on contemporary biometrics, constant upgrades to biometric systems make them near impossible for most people to hack. Facial recognition is especially helpful, noted as 20 times harder to hack than fingerprint systems. Even if someone did somehow get a copy of your fingerprints, two-factor authentication and checks for a pulse would make unwelcome incursion a monumental task.
Released in 1969, the tech in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service was imaginative, but extremely indicative of the limitations of the time. The standout piece of technology in this film has to be the “subminiature” camera. Around the size of half a deck of playing cards, audiences were left amazed at what the future could hold for image capturing technology.
In 2021, we reached a stage that few of even the most forward-thinking could have imagined. As covered by Digit, the new smallest camera we’ve developed so far is called the OVM6948. Catchy name aside, this device is about the size of a grain of sand and is used for disposable guide wires, catheters, and endoscopes. Probably not that useful for Bond unless he was performing a medical operation, but we’re sure the lads at MI6 could adapt the system for a more spy-worthy use.
With technology advancing so rapidly in the digital age, we have to wonder if any of Bond’s gadgets won’t eventually be overtaken by modern science. While we’d hope for more jetpacks than Goldeneye’s, it serves as an interesting illustration of humankind’s progress in the sciences. Who knows, fifty years down the track we could be seeing even Daniel Craig’s best tools as quaint.