Thursday, January 22, 2009

Swann's camera pen lets you play spy

BERLIN (AP) — With my trench coat and dark glasses, I looked like a rumpled, portly version of Jason Bourne or James Bond as I stood by the Glienicke Bridge between Berlin and Potsdam, famed as the transfer point for captured spies between the East and the West during the Cold War.

As for the secret I carried, well, it was technological: Swann Communications Ltd.'s new PenCam DVR, a thick ball point pen that sports a tiny video camera and 2 gigabytes of memory. I felt well prepared to be a super spy instead of an anonymous reporter. Sadly, fact trumps fantasy, and though the PenCam is plenty of fun, it has its limitations.

As spy craft goes, there's been no dearth of tiny cameras. Agencies like the Soviet-era KGB, Britain's MI6 and the East German Stasi were quite adept at hiding them in everything from belt buckles to coat buttons.


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