The real life Q
Meet Ramsey Faragher, chief gadget creator for the UK’s secret agents and military experts. Now, pay attention...
Posted: 18 Feb 2013
It's also the tangible version of the tech that turns Bond or Bourne into a blinking dot on a monitor, as they crawl through some sewer or villain's lair. "People see a red blip on a cinema screen and assume this stuff must actually exist," says Ramsey. "But sometimes we're behind the movies... and, at other times, we're way ahead." And it's not just here at the ATC. In the 1990 film The Hunt for Red October, the American subs plot their position by measuring gravitational fields. It turns out the US government was actually working on such a system, and, perhaps fearing a leak, the Pentagon eventually declassified the project.
There's sensitive stuff going on here too, which is why Ramsey is careful with his words and our camera is checked as we leave. However, we did discover a few other things before giving our passes back. Things like an autonomous off-roader, which is a bit like Google's self-driving Prius, only much meaner. It's based on a Bowler Wildcat and uses laser scanners to ‘see' the landscape, and servos to operate the controls. So it's similar to the robo-Prius, but where Google's car is designed to read road signs and avoid running over children, this one's for blasting across dunes while talking to fighter jets and possibly dispatching a few insurgents.