Bond Gadgets: Never Say They'll Never Work

Bond uses a gadget with a cassette tape inside to change his voice, sounding on the phone to the movie's villain like one of his fellow bad guys.

It's a trick you can now employ yourself using free or cheap software, which typically has presets to make you sound male, female, like a teenager or even like a small infant. With some experimentation you can tune your voice to sound like a specific person.

Far from being used purely for pranks, some are pitched at female gamers wishing to sound like men to avoid drawing attention to themselves in male-dominated online games.

Ski jacket emergency-pod (The World Is Not Enough)

In case of avalanche pull cord. Bond's ingenious ski-jacket encases him in a protective air-filled sphere, reminiscent of those used in the extreme sport zorbing.

While a gadget like that has yet to be realised, skiers and snowboarders can buy something similar. A backpack releases two air-filled bags that are designed to increase a person's buoyancy in a fast-moving stream of snow.

Snooper robot (A View To A Kill)

Chihuahua-sized wheeled robot Snooper was supposed to be a discreet eavesdropper but looked less than inconspicuous.

Real spying robots are largely for flying surveillance. Among the most cutting edge examples are morphing craft in the image of birds, planned lightweight flying spies made from paper and even reprogrammed "cyborg" insects controlled electronically (with video).

Non-experts can now buy surveillance robots of their own. Nuvo, Spykee and Sentinel are all ground-based robots that act as roving security cameras. The user can monitor their home when they are away, and speak through the robot to anyone there.

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