9 times James Bond predicted the future with his gadgets

But despite how fantastical and unbelievable these devices can sometimes seem, many of them have the knack of becoming real.

Ever since Goldfinger in 1964, the James Bond movies have had the incredible habit of predicting the future. Whether it’s with watches, weapons, or cars, this franchise has produced a lot of gadgetry that ended up being made years later.

To prove it to you, we’ve put together this list of the times James Bond predicted the future with his gadgets. Plus, if you want to get your hands on some of these modern spy toys, we’ve included some handy links to help.

Here are the nine times the James Bond movies predicted the future.

But before you abscond to Bond, make sure you check out our Tech section where you’ll find the latest releases. Including the Amazon QLED Fire TVs and the Samsung Galaxy A34 and A54.

The nine times James Bond predicted the future with gadgets

Smartwatches – The Spy Who Loved Me

Amazon

By 1970 the world was introduced to the digital watch, but in 1977 this was topped in true James Bond fashion by a watch that can receive messages – sound familiar? In Roger Moore’s The Spy Who Loved Me, Bond gets a message sent over from MI6 that comes out written on ticker tape. And while technology has advanced, this certainly marks the beginnings of the modern smartwatch.

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Apple Watches, Fitbits and other smartwatches can all send and receive messages as well as track movements, map your route and monitor your fitness. If Bond had one of those he might have got into less trouble.

While you’re here, take a look at our guide to the best Fitbit deals.

Shop Smartwatches at John Lewis

Miniature cameras – Moonraker

tiny camera

Amazon

There’s a lot to be said about the technology in Moonraker. With laser guns, safe-cracking devices, gondola hovercrafts, and, well, the giant space station, this was a film that really pushed the boat out. Unfortunately, many fans responded poorly to this sci-fi-esque take on Bond and especially disliked the overuse of gadgets in the movie.

But for all the supposed problems of this film, it did a good job of predicting the future. One gadget in particular was Bond’s miniature camera, which was the same size as a pen lid.

Not only are small cameras common today for medical practices, but you can also buy miniature security cameras that are meant to blend in around the home. Some nanny cameras available to buy are no more than 3cm in size.

Shop security cameras and CCTV at Currys

Smartphones with fingerprint scanners – Tomorrow Never Dies

iPhone SE

This one is spooky. In 1997, Tomorrow Never Dies debuted the smartphone, complete with biometric fingerprint identification. Granted, it’s not a touch screen but an Ericsson JB988 brick phone, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting when Bond unlocks it with the fingerprint scanner on the side.

In 2013, fingerprint scanning devices first hit the mainstream with the iPhone 5S and the Samsung Galaxy 5S soon after. This then became a regular part of Apple up until the iPhone 8 series, after which it was replaced with face scanning tech.

Shop iPhones at Amazon

Satnavs – Goldfinger

GPS

Currys

Nowadays we’ve become so used to Satnavs and their monotone instructions that it’s easy to forget they weren’t around in 1964. In 1960, Satellite Navigation had been invented but they were well off putting this technology into cars – enter Bond.

In Goldfinger, Bond’s Aston Martin has a screen with a map that’s identical to a modern GPS device. 007 uses it to track the film’s eponymous villain and then presumably becomes the first man to search for “spy bars near me”.

Shop Satnav deals at Currys

Jet packs – Thunderball

Flyboard

Experience Days

Jet packs had been around in spy and sci-fi movies for years before 1965’s Thunderball. Which meant that the prop team were able to provide Sean Connery with a real functioning jet pack to film with. They used a Bell Textron Rocket Belt, which was originally made for the American army and could propel the wearer over 30ft into the air.

In real life, you can’t buy a jet pack at the shops but you can enjoy a jetpack experience in places across the UK. Also known as flyboarding, these jet packs are powered by water instead of hydrogen, and can send you up to 25ft.

Buy flyboarding and jetpack experiences from £99 at Into the Blue

Underwater Cars – The Spy Who Loved Me

duck tours

Duck Tours

Aside from the Aston Martin, this is probably Bond’s most iconic car. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Roger Moore drives a Lotus Esprit and, at one point, calmly drives it off a dock and into water. While Barbara Bach’s Anya understandably freaks out, Bond turns the car into submarine mode and later resurfaces it on a beach.

Inspired by this, in 2008 a Swiss car designer, Frank M. Rinderknecht, made his own. He invented the sQuba, a Lotus Elise car that could ‘fly’ underwater.

Also, in a slightly more pedestrian version, you have car boats that are commonly used for tour experiences, such as London Duck Tours.

Shop boat tour gift experiences at Experience Days

Smart Pens – GoldenEye

apple pen

Argos

In Skyfall, Ben Whishaw’s Q jokes about exploding pens and says MI6 “don’t really go in for that anymore.” But surely even he would admit what an impact Smartpen technology has had in recent years.

Pen gadgets first appeared in the 1983 unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again, which featured a pen gun. Then, in 1995’s Golden Eye the lab is famously destroyed by a pen grenade.

Thankfully, real pen technology is a bit less damaging but equally useful. These days, smart pens are intuitive little devices that allow you take notes on phones and tablets. Some of them even have audio recording and cameras in them, which is handy if you’re in a lecture or perhaps trying to pick up some incriminating evidence.

Shop iPad and tablet accessories at Argos

Remote Controlled Cars – Tomorrow Never Dies

BMW

Autotrader

In Pierce Brosnan’s second film, Tomorrow Never Dies, we see the most unusual chase in all of Bond history because, well, he’s not actually driving for most of it. From the back seat of the BMW, 007 escapes the henchman by driving with the same remote control phone we talked about earlier.

With the way cars and phone technology have evolved in the last 10 years, it’s not all that surprising that this exists. In 2015 it was reported that the Jaguar Land Rover team was developing a smartphone app that could control the movements and systems in your car. Plus, the Department of Transport is currently pouring millions into getting self-driving cars on the road by 2025, so be careful your car doesn’t wander off on you!

Shop BMW cars at Autotrader

Invisible Cars – Die Another Day

Mercedes

Autotrader

The Brosnan era really had a penchant for playing around with cars – clearly the Aston Martin DB5 wasn’t enough in the noughties. In 2002’s Die Another Day, the writers took things to a whole new level with the invisible car.

In a crucial moment of the film, the invisible car (an Aston Martin Vanquish if you want the specifics) helps Bond to save Jinx (Halle Berry) at the ice palace. As an explanation, Q tells Bond that the car is covered in tiny cameras which project the surroundings they film onto the outside of the car.

Sounds farfetched, but in 2012 this actually happened. The engineers at Mercedes Benz enhanced their zero emissions F-Cell car with $263,000 worth of LEDs and a digital SLR camera. The camera was placed on one side of the car and captured footage that was displayed in real time on the opposite side. This created an optical illusion that made the car seem like it wasn’t there.

Shop Mercedes cars at Autotrader

James Bond films including No Time to Die, Casino Royale and many more are available to rent or buy on Prime Video. Sign up for a 30-day free trial and pay £8.99 per month after that.

Take a look at the best Film and TV studio tours for more James Bond fun. Or get an adrenaline rush from the best London skyscraper tours.