BLOG TOUR // Code Red Lipstick by Sarah Sky

10 June 2014

Sarah Sky's top ten gadgets: Jessica Cole’s an average teenager, except when she’s modelling and helping out her private investigator dad on surveillance jobs. When the former MI6 spy vanishes mysteriously, the 14-year-old takes matters into her own hands.Following her dad’s trail to Paris, her investigation leads her to AKSC, the beauty headquarters of former supermodel, Allegra Knight, and a conspiracy involving an MI6 double agent. Jessica needs her wits about her and lots of gadgets to help give her the upper hand against dangerous adversaries.
She has a mini arsenal including a laser ring; a powder compact which contains X-ray vision and an electromagnetic pulse device; a flame thrower disguised as hairspray as well as a lipstick which doubles as a torch and tracking device.Every spy needs great gadgets - it's a staple of the genre. Here are some of the most memorable:
1. The bowler hat in Goldfinger. Who can forget that particular fashion accessory sported by Oddjob? Lined with razor sharp steel, it slices through the head of a statue like butter and proves deadly for Bond girl Tilly Masterson. Adaptations to accessories are famous in spying history. At the height of the Cold War, the KGB developed lipstick guns and pistol gloves.
2. Dagger shoes in From Russia With Love. You wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of a kick from Colonel Rosa Klebb. The knives hidden in her shoes were tipped with poison. In 1978, Bulgarian dissident, Georgi Markov, died in a London hospital after a ricin pellet was fired or stabbed into his leg - reportedly via an umbrella.
3. Submarine car, The Spy Who Loved Me. The Lotus Esprit could travel underwater - pretty handy when you're being shot at on dry land and need a quick escape. It also had a torpedo launcher. In 2008 at the Geneva Motor Show, Swiss company Rinspeed unveiled the world's first car called sQuba that could be driven on land and in water.
4. Jack Bauer's phone in 24. I like my Samsung, but Jack's phone never needs re-charging and he always seems to have a hotline to the President. His PDA (personal digital assistant) was pretty handy in previous series - it could decode encrypted messages and access top secret info in seconds. Sorry, Samsung, but I want Jack's latest toy. In the mean time I rather liked playing with the encrypted mobile phones at a recent West London security conference. So did the 'spooks' there too.
5. Iron Man's suit. Billionaire Tony Stark builds a suit that can fly, carry a variety of cool weapons and gives him incredible strength. This isn't as far out as it seems. In America, an advanced robotic exoskeleton is being developed that will enable soldiers to carry colossal loads with very little effort. In Afghanistan, prototype versions are already entering combat trials.
5. Hammer hands and stompers, Spy Kids 4The high-tech gloves have the punch force of a hammer and the boots also give the wearer super strength. Again, advancements in robotics could produce something similar in the future. In the US, the ultra-light exoskeleton attaches to the outside of a soldier's body with its own titanium legs, which transfers the weight of any load.
7. All of Sydney Bristow's gadgets in Alias.  Marshall Flinkman's gadgets include a coding machine that could take a speck of skin from a finger and create a code based on the DNA. The gadget man also produced earrings that emitted an infra-red pulse and a radio frequency scrambler that looked like a cigarette lighter. There's probably someone just like Marshall, dreaming up a new mind-blowing gadget at MI6 right now.
8. Explosive chewing gum in Mission Impossible 1. Ethan Hunt uses the red and green coloured gum to blow up a gigantic fish tank in a restaurant and a helicopter in the movie. Just don't chew the gum. Really don't. In Spy Kids, electric gumballs also gave adversaries a nasty shock. During World War 11, a bizarre Nazi assassination plot involved attempting to kill Winston Churchill using explosive chocolate. Yes, really.
9. Contact lenses in Mission Impossible 4. The possibilities would be endless for spies if they had the facial recognition contact lenses from this movie. In America, real-life experiments have shown that implant technology can give normally sighted soldiers amazing extra senses such as night vision and even the ability to see magnetic fields.
10. Harry Potter's invisibility cloak. Okay, so it's not technically a gadget and it doesn't belong in the spy genre, but it's still immensely cool. Which modern day spy wouldn't want one of these? Scientists are already attempting to create invisibility cloaks. But current designs can only hide objects at specific wavelengths of light or microwaves. 

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