The History Of Spy Gadgets

18 December 2013  |  Admin

It is assumed by the vast majority that the spy camera is a relatively new invention. Recent technological advancements in cameras, computers and digital media have meant that spy gadgets can be shrunk to miniature sizes and placed in a variety of innocuous objects. But in fact, the hidden spy camera has taken many forms over the years and goes back as far as 1922, when Walter Zapp conceived the idea of a pocket-sized gadget for use among spies. It wasn’t created in its actual form until 1936, but this is still decades before many would assume such advanced technology could exist.

At this point, the first real spy camera had already been in existence for more than 60 years. A small wooden precursor to the spy pen was created in France in 1865, which used dry plate snapshot photography to capture images. It measured just 1 inch by 2 inches and was popularly used until the invention of film six year later, which caused a new round of technological advancements. With Walter Zapp’s invention paving the way in the 30s, it took until the 1950s to see any true breakthrough when a spying device was embedded into a button. It was used throughout the CIA and KBG, and was initially such a big device that it could only be used on items of clothing with large buttons, such as peacoats. Wireless technology would not be invented until the 21st century, so the covert spy cameras were operated via a hidden wire.

Digital photos began to come into prominence in the late 1990s, with computers now able to process and store them. This great shift towards the digital age we now know encouraged a huge increase in the amount of spy cameras and gadgets available to the public, which could now be bought in different sizes and in different price ranges. Digital photos also meant that images and videos could be viewed instantly; photo development was slowly becoming irrelevant and saw a huge increase in the variety of gadgets which were available. From the late 90s onwards it has become steadily more easy and affordable for anyone to own their own miniature spy gadget in the form of a pen, a watch or a tiny hidden camera.

The 21st century brought about all of the developments we now accept as standard; wireless connectivity, improved resolution and quality of images and decreased size of gadgets so they cannot be detected by the untrained eye. It has been predicted by some that the future of hidden spy devices will include innovations such as cameras built into contact lenses, or even integrated within the fabric of clothing, shoes or accessories. The miniaturisation of hardware points in this direction, and with recent discoveries including flexible, see-through computer memory, the sky is the limit when it comes to imagining the future of spy gadgets.

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