Issue 10: 22 October 2012
Daniel Craig as James Bond in Skyfall

The real ICT of James Bond

The showy computer wizardry depicted in recent Bond movies is closer than ever to real-life technology; it even reflects changes in how actual enterprises are deploying their ICT resources.

Scene from Skyfall with Q and Bond

Thanks to rapid advances in forensics, communications and drone technology Bond-style field agents could soon be a thing of the past.

A close up of someone using a mobile phone

The risk of attack by cyberspies is increasing and thanks to emerging technologies it’s harder than ever to keep passwords away from prying eyes.

Climbing robot with a cockroach and lizard

Robotics researchers are increasingly turning to the animal kingdom for inspiration.

The espionage issue
E&T cover image 1210 E&T cocks the safety catch on its standard-issue Walther PPK and jumps in to its dual-fuel hybrid Aston Martin as we embark on our regular danger mission to save the engineering truth and counter technological treachery. Are the days of the human spy numbered? Will robot insects spys prove more useful in the future? How important is mission-critical software in getting the job done safely and on time? Will technology render the human spy redundant? We also reflect on the Cuban Missile Crisis, learn about developments in eye-tracking and speech synthesis, designing cars for all ages, hydrogen on a high and much more.

The E&T podcast: download episode 22

In this episode, we meet artist and computer historian Dr David Link, the winner of the Tony Sale Award for Computer Conservation; hear about social enterprise collaboration from Felicity Wohltman, Vice President, Solutions, Mindjet Inc; catch up with the Eccentric Engineer, as Justin Pollard discusses his new compendium of unexpected engineering tales; talk to Robert Evans, CEO of Cenex, about electric vehicle battery costs and future technology; and finally reimagine Ian Fleming's James Bond as the engineering and technology savvy super-spy Ian Tee. [NB: the music that accompanies the Ian Tee reading is by The Surf Champlers, from the album Champloo A Go Go, performed by Kenji Yano]

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Also in this issue
US President Barack Obama's victory Tweetpic

US President Barack Obama: how he got re-elected  ET arr

The issues and demographic shifts that gave President Barack Obama four more years are being widely debated. Less attention is going to how his campaign harnessed them to secure victory. Was this the first major election where, “It was tech wot won it”?

Everything Everywhere 4GEE logo

Network diversity limits what EE can learn from the 4G story so far  ET arr

As the first operator to put a 4G mobile network based on the Long Term Evolution (LTE) protocol into action in the UK, EE will have to look abroad to take lessons from other deployments.

Lecture on the teleprinter using a Creed machine

Photo essay: 175 years of UK telecommunications  ET arr

2012 marks the 175th anniversary of the UK patent for Cooke and Wheatstone’s commercially practical electric telegraph: the first step in the era of electrical telecommunications in Britain, highlighted in these images from the New Connections BT e-Archive Project now being undertaken by Coventry University.

Hashima, a tiny industrialised island off the south west coast of Japan, inspiration for a key location in Skyfall

Hashima: Japanese island inspiration for Bond's Skyfall  ET arr

Hashima is a tiny industrialised island situated off the south west coast of Japan. Once home to a thriving mining community, it is now almost completely deserted - although not quite, as the plot of the latest James Bond film, Skyfall, would have us believe.

Carbon nanotube graphic

What next for IC materials?  ET arr

For 50 years, silicon has been the material of choice for making integrated circuits; but some say that it's been living on borrowed time - and chipmakers are developing innovative new material bases for future processors.

An offshore wind farm as viewed from a boat

Offshore wind - laying the foundations  ET arr

The UK must begin planning an offshore wind strategy that ensures reliability, availability and longevity, says the author of the IET's new book 'Offshore Wind Turbines'.

Sound wave graphic

Oscillators - the new wave  ET arr

Oscillation is an essential function for many common devices. Now a new generation of generators will extend their range of applications even further.

Dashboard of a car

Vehicle technology and the older driver  ET arr

As we are living on average 15 years longer, the automotive industry is discovering ageing drivers may have different technology needs from their younger counterparts.

A man using a mobile phone in the back of a car

4G to produce marginal gains  ET arr

4G is being touted as the panacea for the UK economy, for consumers wanting faster downloads - but is it all that it's cracked up to be?

Cityscape of Singapore’s Boat Quay area

Book interview - how to expand your company  ET arr

One of the most difficult challenges in business is successfully expanding your company. After all, there's more to growing an organisation than simply adding bits on to it.

Spy story board graphic

Ian Tee: secret agent  ET arr

How might classic Bond stories be reinterpreted in the near future, with some modern cutting-edge technologies incorporated into old plots? Here's one possible outcome complete with a glossary of the tech featured...

President Kennedy in the White House during a televised press conference

The Cuban missile crisis and the superpower tech race  ET arr

Fifty years ago the US and USSR averted a nuclear clash during the Cuban missile crisis; but the emergency had profound repercussions for each nation's computing and communications industries.

Cartoon showing a man walking out of an office with a computer

Comment: Why the BYOD boom is changing how we think about business IT  ET arr

Organisations can benefit from letting staff use their gadgets at work, says Richard Oliver, but only if clearly defined policies are in place

Plug for electric vehicle

Electric vehicles ready for prime time  ET arr

Governments have brought in subsidies to boost the sales of electric vehicles. But are they really justified?

Hydrogen bus

TSB invests in UK hydrogen projects  ET arr

The much heralded hydrogen economy has never materialised but within niche applications the future is looking bright for this clean energy technology.

David Hempleman-Adams close-up in polar gear

Interview - The chairman who climbed Everest  ET arr

Chairman of adhesives company Global Resins, David Hempleman-Adams is also a world record-breaking mountaineer, aviator and polar explorer. Sometimes these lives come together in a bizarre way.

A ROAV flying around a flare

Better inspections at height  ET arr

Inspections at height are part of the modern regulatory framework, but with a little forward-thinking they could provide much more useful results.

Britain’s mainland desalination plant

Desalination: is it the saviour of drought-ridden countries?  ET arr

A reported drop in water quality is causing serious health problems among some of the world's fastest-growing populations. Could new developments in desalination provide an answer?

A close up of a human eye

Advances in eye tracking and speech synthesis  ET arr

Eye tracking and speech synthesis are now able to give voice to those with even severely limited movement.


Should we send manned missions to the Moon?


We must go back to the Moon and finish the work we started

Writer, broadcaster and filmmaker

Profile: Chris Riley

Chris Riley is a British writer, broadcaster and filmmaker specialising in the history of science. He makes frequent appearances on TV and radio, broadcasting on space flight and astronomy. He is a veteran of two Nasa astrobiology missions and is the author of the Haynes Apollo 11 Owners’ Workshop Manual.



Go back to the Moon by all means, but Mars is the real deal

Fellow, director and author

Profile: James M Clash

Jim Clash, a fellow and director at the Explorers Club, has purchased a ticket to fly into suborbital space with Virgin Galactic Airways. He is author of ‘The Right Stuff: Interviews with Icons of the 1960s’ (Askmen, June 2012) and has interviewed six of the 12 moonwalkers.

We must go back to the Moon

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The big picture
That shiny painted bird from Goldfinger
Big Numbers
Archos GamePad

An Android tablet built around gaming with “proper” games-friendly buttons and dual analogue sticks

Asus Vivo Tab and Vivo Tab RT

Asus applies its laptop/tablet hybrid smarts to Windows 8

Nokia Lumia 920

The 920 uses PureView camera tech to take in “five times more light” for better pictures, particularly in low light

Philips HomeCooker

Co-developed by Jamie Oliver, this is a stewpot for the 21st century

Philips PFL6900 series

Super slim Smart TV with a remote control with mouse style motion sensing pointing and QWERTY keyboard


A stylish Bluetooth speaker featuring NFC technology - simply tap the handle to pair a new device


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