You can’t have failed to miss that today (21 October) is Back to the Future Day. On this very day Marty McFly arrived in 2015 in his DeLorean in the 80s Back to the Future franchise.
Much has been made of how the technology that looked so futuristic back in 1989 is now, if not exactly commonplace, in evidence. For example the famous hoverboard that McFly attempted to ride over the pond in the town square and his talking jacket that seemed to pre-empt today’s obsession with wearable tech.
Of course, the Back to the Future films were not the first to attempt to predict the future and seemingly outlandish technology. James Bond has been doing it for far longer (although you could argue that it now resembles more of a merchandising exercise than a vision of the future).
With Spectre, the twenty-sixth outing for Bond due for release next week we thought we’d take a look at five of Bond’s best and most iconic gadgets and whether they too proved prescient.
Fingerprint Scanner, (Diamonds Are Forever)
In 1971, Bond managed to fool a biometric scanner (and Tiffany Case) with a fake fingerprint and the word was astonished. Skip forward just over 40 years and fingerprint scanning technology is commonplace in order to access your mobile phone.
Sean Connery took to the air in the 1965 Thunderball using a jetpack and while the technology has not exactly become widespread, it’s certainly not the revelation that it once seemed to be.
Ring camera (A View to a Kill)
Miniaturising existing technology was often the most exciting thing about Bond’s technology and the camera embedded in a ring was at the vanguard in 1985. Nowadays miniature cameras are ubiquitous and can be used for surreptitious filming virtually anywhere. One manufacturer has even emulated Bond and embedded a camera in a ring.
Homing beacon, (Goldfinger)
Much like miniature cameras, beacons have also become available for anyone to use, licence to kill or otherwise. Indeed, in-store tracking devices have become an increasingly common part of many retailers marketing strategies; something that Bond would never have realised in 1964 as he used GPS technology to track down Goldfinger’s HQ.
Revolving number plates, (Goldfinger)
The revolving number plates that Bond deployed on his Aston Martin might have got him out of a few scrapes, which is something that some motorists in China have more recently been trying to emulate. A 2008 report claimed that more than half of the cars caught on speed cameras were either operating counterfeit or covered plates. Speeders have devised a new way to evade the cameras and in a direct homage to Bond, they have developed a device that spins their number plates in a matter of seconds.
It seems as if we’re pretty much up to date in the gadget world, eagerly anticipating Spectre with Daniel Craig disclosing that the film will feature more hi-tech gadgets and gimmicks than we’ve seen in more serious 007 movies such as Skyfall, presenting a more typically-Bond feel to the whole picture.
Rejoice gadget geeks! If the previous Bond films are anything to go by, Spectre’s gadgets will be a thing of the future.