Get out your cloaks and daggers and sneak along with us. We’re going to see where James Bond gets those nifty gadgets. Real-life spy stuff – today on Engineering Works!
Most of the sneaky spy things you see in the movies come straight out of Hollywood’s imagination. But the Central Intelligence Agency has a whole division of scientists and engineers, turning out gadgets not even James Bond could pass up.
How about this one – monitoring devices that looked like, well, like tiger droppings. Placed along jungle trails in Vietnam, they provided valuable information about enemy troop movements.
Back in the 1970s, the CIA engineers designed a tiny camera intended to be strapped to pigeons and flown over urban targets. Nobody notices pigeons in the city, right? It took a couple of tries to get it right. The first camera was so heavy the pigeon ended up walking home. Things have changed since then. Now satellites take pictures that are better than the ones the pigeons got.
Then, only a few years ago, a realistic robotic catfish known as Charlie swam onto the spy scene. CIA officials aren’t saying, but experts guess that Charlie might be used to take water samples from rivers near suspected chemical or nuclear weapons plants.
The CIA keeps these gadgets and more in a top secret spy museum. The agency celebrated its 40th anniversary by giving outsiders a glimpse.
Oh, well. We’ll just sneak away ’til next time.