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Gadgets to Make Life Simpler

With the recession and cut-throat competition, the office room has suddenly become one large dangerous playground. So this time, we have decided that it is time to equip you with the essentials for this competition on a wartime footing. Its war time, soldier, and the first fact of war, as always is...


Think someone is trying to spy on you? Maybe it was the disturbed furniture in your cubicle or the change in position of the mouse. Maybe it is the constant feeling that someone is watching you. Whatever it is, here are some cool tools for you:

Audio jammer ($100 to 150)

An audio jammer works by generating a random masking noise that overloads and jams nearby microphones. Assured to work against any microphone other than one held extremely close to your mouth (a bug in your phone, perhaps), this is the ultimate tool for anyone who is afraid that someone is listening in on his private / confidential conversations at office. With a range of up to 10 meters, this device is ideally carried on the person, but one may choose to place one in every room for organization wide security. Audio jammers are available in many brands. The KJB Security J1000 Audio Jammer from KJB Security, available on Amazon.com, is a good bet.

The KJB Security J1000 Audio Jammer

Keylogger ($50 to 150)

While software keyloggers work just fine, there is the minor issue of making them undetectable by anti-spyware / antimalware software, which is quite hard. The solution is a hardware keylogger. Connected in-line between a keyboard and the computer (the PS/2 or USB cable from the keyboard is plugged into the keylogger, which is then plugged into the computer), this dandy little device can be camouflaged to look totally natural. It is the ideal tool for the office executive afraid of his terminal being accessed in his absence, though it will do for those of you with more evil intentions too.

The Spy Keylogger available on thinkgeek.com

For a good purchase, check out the Spy Keylogger, available from thinkgeek.com. Some more expensive models, in the $100 to 200 range also have the option of live wireless monitoring of keystrokes. However, these models are hard to find in India due to regulations.

Wi-Fi Spectrum Analyzer ($200 to 400)

Think someone is snooping in on your office Wi-Fi network and sniffing out packets? What you need is a Wi-Fi spectrum analyzer. After all, the highest encryption network security packages can still be compromised, and the only true defense is ensuring that no unknown device transmits or receives into your Wi-Fi network. A Wi-Fi spectrum analyzer is a device that detects all transmitters nearby in the 2.4 GHz spectrum. It usually comes with bundled software that allows you to isolate each source (transmitter) nearby and locate them by monitoring signal strengths as you move closer and farther. This is the ideal tool for the professional willing to invest that extra bit into his/her Wi-Fi network security and is willing to spend loads of time on it.

The Wi-Spy 2.4x Wireless spectrum analyzer. Comes with some useful features such as frequency and amplitude markers

A good choice in this arena is the Wi-Spy 2.4x Spectrum Analyzer. Available on Amazon.com and thinkgeek.com, this tool also works for Bluetooth interference and comes packed with loads of small convenient features such as record and playback of signal patterns.

A disappearing ink pen ($10 to 20)

This one is straight from the spy movies. You might already be familiar with the invisible ink pens available on the internet. The disappearing ink pen is nothing of the sort. It works perfectly fine for one day notes, and the ink soon vanishes, without a trace. Even indentations on your notepad will be hard to read as low pressure to read.

This manufacturer claims the technology behind the pen was developed by the actual KGB during the cold war.

The KGB disappearing ink pen, available on thinkgeek.com

A wireless camera / Microphone detector ($20 to 200)

This is a device for the truly paranoid, or the truly phantasmagorical. A wireless camera / microphone detector works by scanning for all transmitters within a huge frequency spectrum (20 MHz to 10 GHz), so that any nearby wireless microphones / cameras transmitting in these frequencies can be detected. Most of these devices come with variable channel scanners for further narrowing down the spectrum of scanning.

A wide variety of branded and unbranded products in this category can be found on the internet.

A typical Hidden Camera Detector

A directional Acoustic Amplifier ($30 to 50)

Your grasp of office power mongering will take a quantum leap with this device. Allowing for the amplification of sound from up to 50 meters away by up to 50decibels, these are the ultimate tools for the professionals afraid that their colleagues are planning something against them. These devices also often double as regular audio enhancers, allowing you to listen in on birds/wildlife once clipped to a binocular, or hear that lecture better.

Once again, your options aren’t limited and range from the cheap and unbranded to the expensive and customized.

The Sonic superear is a good device in this category


The set of gadgets in this session will give you the full power to take the battle to the other side at office.

Personal Hidden cameras ($20 to 400)

Maybe it is high time you started gathering evidence of all your dealings. And the ultimate solution, is a hidden camera on your own person. This concept, beginning with the early spy movies, is even today one of the most popular forms of surveillance. May it be belt buckles or car keys, sunglasses or wristwatches, hidden cameras can be built into almost any innocent looking item you carry on you. Almost all shopping web sites offer you a plethora of choices in this regard.

One of the many hidden camera devices available on the internet

Spybot ($150 onwards)

For those of you, who think hidden cameras are for pussy cats, put a camera on a robot, send it into enemy territory and gulp in the information. Ideal for listening in on your co-worker’s cubicle, bots such as these are available with various features. While some use dedicated wireless channels, some operate through Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth frequencies.

A prime example is the Rovio – Wi-Fi roaming bot. Small and unobtrusive, it can be used for both defense and offence. Leave it roaming around in your office / cubicle for continuous observation, or have it slowly sneak into enemy territory. Interfacing through any available nearby Wi-Fi network, the Rovio can be operated completely independently from anywhere around the world, over the web.

The Rovio – Wi Fi roaming bot

An unobtrusive micro scanner ($100 onwards)

The ideal tool for quickly copying those incriminating documents, these scanners come in many forms, most often that of a pen / wristwatch. Many of them come with tons of built in memory and surprisingly high resolutions, to make sneaky document scanning a pleasant experience.

An excellent choice is the RC 805 Docupen personal pen scanner. Coming with a full 400 DPI resolution, this device lets you scan a legal size document in as little as 4 seconds.

The Docupen personal pen scanner