9 amazing spy gadgets

9 gadgets d'espionnage incroyables - PhilTeam

Agents from the DGSE, CIA, or other spy units may not use jet-packs or laser watches, but they do have a few tricks up their sleeves. Here are some of them in this article.

At the CIA museum in Washington, for example, you can get a glimpse of gadgets used in past spy missions.

The agency has declassified 600 of the roughly 20,000 items used by CIA agents throughout history, museum director Toni Hiley tells Tech Insider. Current agents are constantly on the lookout for old gadgets to craft new ones.

"Revisiting technology is something we always do in the spy world," Hiley says. "There is no such thing as too old technology for operations."

From hidden cameras, to flies on the walls, here are the 9 most fascinating gadgets in the collection.

A pipe that hides a radio


This man's pipe from the 60s hides a radio receiver. The sound travels from the main tube to the agent's ear.

A camera that fits in a pack of cigarettes

A miniature Tessina 35mm camera fits in this pack of Parliaments. According to Hiley, the CIA chose a Tessina because it was one of the smallest and quietest cameras of the 60s.

A pigeon that carries messages

During World War II, officers attached these lightweight devices to pigeons. When the bird flew over a target, the camera took hundreds of photos. These images were more detailed than those from airplanes, as pigeons can fly hundreds of meters lower.

Unfortunately, the photos of these pigeons are still classified.

The copter insect

A pearl-sized microphone hides in the head of this faux dragonfly.

Thanks to a mini motor, it can fly 650 meters for 60 seconds via a remote control. The large wingspan of the dragonfly allows it to fly easily, but it is impossible to control it, even in a light crosswind.

A hint of "deadly drop"

Since communication between agents is always risky, this hollow container was invented to hold films and documents in the 1960s. Agents stuck the spike into the ground at a predetermined location, and another agent picked it up later, eliminating the need for direct contact.
This tip can also be useful to kill a possible enemy.

A device that detects intruders

Designed to blend into the ground, this Cold War-era device detects enemies up to 1,000 meters away. When it detects a vibration, a built-in antenna transmits a warning to officers via radio signals.

A mirror hiding secret codes

By tilting the mirror at the right angle, this makeup case reveals a secret code.

"Charlie", the robot fish


In the 1990s, the CIA developed "Charlie" to collect underwater signals from enemy ships. Controlled by a radio remote control, the catfish contains a microphone in the body and a propulsion system in the tail.

A camera that takes microscopic photos

In the late 1940s, the CIA invented this device that allowed documents and photos to be secretly transferred.

The device could reduce entire pages to microscopic pieces of film, called microdots. These photos were then stored in other inconspicuous objects, such as rings, hollow coins and mail. The microdots were often embedded in the sentence periods of the letters, which the recipients read under a microscope.


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