Real-life Qs Give Their Take on 007’s Gadgets
12 October 2021
To mark the release of the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, experts at the UK’s National Authority for Counter-Eavesdropping (UK NACE), have given their take on some of the film’s favourite on-screen spy gear.
With 75 years’ experience in detecting and protecting against technical espionage and attacks, UK NACE provide technical security support for the UK government, UK armed forces, law enforcement and critical national infrastructure.
Here the team of expert engineers and technologists put their knowledge to the test:
In the film Skyfall we see Q issue 007 with a Walther PPK/S pistol, which he claims contains a sensor so that only Bond can fire it. Is that possible?
UK NACE say: “Biometric technology has been used to secure firearms commercially, but any authentication measure is only as good as the mechanism it protects. Manufacturers have to contend with 3D printed rubber ‘finger prints’ and mechanical bypass of the locking mechanism.”
What about Spectre, when Bond gets injected with nano-bots, transmitting his location to MI6?
UK NACE say: “At present, no such tracking technology exists which can be injected into the bloodstream of a human being. However many of us now frequently wear smart watches and wearables all day to monitor our vital signs.
These devices typically have a range of only a few metres so data could only be transmitted to a nearby phone or other receiving device (although cellular and satellite connectivity is getting more common). And while discreet, such a device would be difficult to covertly attach to someone without them noticing.
The ability to monitor 007’s location from anywhere might be of benefit to Q, but would also present a cyber-security nightmare, leaving the door wide open for hostile intelligence agents to compromise the system and potentially tamper with 007’s coordinates, and relay false information back to Bond’s bosses.”
How about Bond cars… the ultimate Q gadgets. Do armoured cars really exist in the real world?
UK NACE say: “Yes they do. The UK uses these special vehicles at some of our Embassies overseas. Regular vehicles can be fitted with fibreglass panels with various armour ratings. Various levels of protection are available, although these increase the weight of the vehicle and alter performance and stability, dramatically.”
How are gadgets developed?
The Director of UK NACE says: “Most of the gadgets Q makes for 007 eventually are made to work in some sort of fashion in the real world. The Bond franchise brilliantly captures one vital element of modern espionage – the importance of cutting-edge science & technology.
“In real life, UK NACE’s home Hanslope Park, is at the heart of the UK Government’s effort to use pioneering technologies to help protect its interests at home and overseas. Across the site there are a number of labs and teams comprising of professionals from a wide variety of backgrounds, forming a melting pot of ideas where innovation is the main objective”.
Image courtesy of https://www.007.com/no-time-to-die/
UK NACE is the UK’s national authority in protecting technical security, providing guidance and operational support to the UK government and Friendly Foreign Governments.
An exciting career in counter-eavesdropping
The Technical Engineering apprenticeship has a wide range of opportunities, including working inside UK NACE.