Maybe you’ve always dreamed of being a CIA operative. Or maybe you’re really into into 007. But whatever the reason, you’ve always had a thing for spies and those high-tech toys they have up their sleeves.
Well, now you don’t need all that formal training, not to mention all that danger. You can be the spy you’ve always dreamed of being with a little help from the DIY crowd and a little electronics savvy.
Here are 7 cool and geeky spy gadgets you can create yourself to impress your friends with spy powers:
1. Secret Chessboard Compartment
Build this sneaky chessboard and you’ll have a secret storage spot no one will ever suspect. Moving the chess pieces across the board in a particular way will unlock a secret compartment that you can use to hide diamonds, baseball cards, or the evidence linking you to the crime of the century.
2. Coffee Cup Spy Cam
Modify an everyday coffee cup to house a concealed camera that snaps a picture every time you take a sip.
The trick is to modify two paper coffee cups — install the device in one, slide it into the second, and align holes cut in the bottoms of each. Two LEDs can be seen through the standard plastic lid — one illuminates when the tilt switch is activated, the other flashes twice after a picture has been taken.
3. Hollow Bolt “Drop Dead” Device
When spies need to pass off a note or microfilm without meeting in person, they sometimes use a “dead drop” device. An effective dead drop device looks common enough to blend in without causing suspicion under the casual glances of passersby. This hollowed-out bolt is one such item.
Eavesdrop on any devious plotting through an ordinary FM radio with this project.
Connect a shirt-pocket “amplified listener” hearing aid with an in-car FM transmitter to create a wireless bug. Then tuck them inside a hollowed-out book with the microphone concealed by the dust cover, and you’ll have a covert listening device that you can leave lying around or on a shelf near a surveillance target.
5. Plant a Bug
Any spy worth his salt needs some good eavesdropping gear. Here’s an easy way to listen in on any conversation, anywhere. All you need is a cell phone and a plugin headset (not a Bluetooth).
Plug in the headset. On the cell phone, turn off both the ringer and the vibrator and turn on auto answer. Hide the phone and headset in the location you want to bug. You’re ready to go. Now all you have to do is call the cell phone which will answer after a couple rings and you can secretly hear everything that’s being said.
6. Turn Your Teddy Bear into a Secret Spy
For this one, you’ll need your favorite stuffed animal, a webcam and a laptop. Remove the casing from the webcam and gently pull out the lens and circuit board. Carefully remove one of the stuffed animal’s eyes and cut an opening in its back. Push the camera viewing lens up through the bear so that it comes to rest where the eye used to be.
Plug the webcam into your laptop in another room. Now you can sit back and secretly view or record anything that happens. One word of caution: this one is for harmless fun, not anything unseemly.
7. Etch a Secret Message on the Bottom of a Glass
Fans of Patrick McGoohan’s classic BBC spy series The Prisoner will recognize this gimmick from Episode 15, “The Girl Who Was Death.” This is a pint glass with words etched on the bottom (in authentic “Village” font) that appear line by line as the liquid is imbibed.