Wild Gadgets Fit for a Real-Life James Bond
James Bond has had some badass tech over the years—wristwatch lasers, passenger ejector seats. But real life has caught up to many of the franchise’s gee-whiz gadgets. Here are some innovations that give Q’s tech a run for its money.
Bond Version: Heads-up display on BMW Z8 in The World is Not Enough
Real Version: MINI Augmented Vision glasses
These goggles are equipped with Wi-Fi and GPS, and project a stereoscopic HUD onto your field of view. Thanks to a camera array, they allow you to “see through” your car, in case any SPECTRE agents are sneaking up. They also alert you to what’s happening in your blindspots.
Bond Version: Facial recognition database in Quantum of Solace
Real Version: IARPA’s Project Janus and FINDER
James Bond may turn to Q for his tech, but US intelligence officers depend on the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity. An American 007 might get early access to Project Janus, an IARPA creation designed to recognize people in photos, even if their faces are in profile, out-of-focus, or poorly illuminated. Once 007 IDs the foe, he can use IARPA’s photo geolocation tool, FINDER, to figure out where they are or were.
Bond Version : Aston Martin DB5 from Goldfinger
Real Version: Aston Martin Vulcan
The DB5 was the granddaddy of all Bond gadgetmobiles, with an ejector seat and oil slick dispenser. But for the real James Bond, our money isn’t on the bespoke DB10 Aston Martin built just for Spectre but on one of the company’s 24 hand-made Vulcans, replete with carbon monocoque, magnesium torque tube, carbon driveshaft, Brembo brake calipers, and more incomprehensible features that sound perfect for a high-speed chase a picturesque city.
Bond Version: Bell Rocketbelt from Thunderball
Real Version: Martin Jetpack
One of Bond’s most iconic escape vehicles was real—the Bell Rocketbelt could actually keep a man airborne for up to 20 seconds. But with 30 minutes of flight time at up to 60 mph, the newer Martin Jetpack could actually be a costar, not a just cameo.
Bond Version: Acrostar Minijet from Octopussy
Real Version: Icon A5 Light Sport
Bond had a compact folding jet that could fit in a truck trailer—but he could never land it on water. For his amphibious flying needs, we’re looking at Icon’s compact plane, which folds up for easy storage in the Q Division garage.
Bond Version: Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me
Real Version: Robbie Maddison’s surfing motorcycle
The Bond car could turn into a submarine with the push of a button, but Australian stunt rider Maddison spent 5,000 hours outfitting his KTM 250 SX with a giant water ski. Racing across waves on a customized motorcycle? That’s a Bond chase scene we’d love to see.
Bond Version: VR sequence from Die Another Day
Real Version: Land Rover transparent bonnet
A “transparent bonnet” may seem more appropriate for dirty Laura Ingalls Wilder fanfic—but what about when that bonnet means augmented reality for your car? The Land Rover tech projects a video feed of what’s in front of the hood (or “bonnet,” as they call it across the pond) and projects it onto the hood, so the front of your car has become invisible.
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