5 New-Tech Items I Like


1. The iStun: In Once a Spy, which I wrote in 2008, a spy uses a million-volt stun gun that’s disguised as an iPhone. When the book was published in 2010, readers thought the device stretched credulity. Today not only are such devices available online for $35, they have 3.8 million volts.

2. Flying cars: Below, the innovative Audi Shark flying car, winner of the World Auto Design Contest. All it lacks is the technology to make it fly.



 But the tech isn’t far off. In fact it’s been around almost as long as the non-flying car. Shown here is Jess Dixon’s Flying Automobile, from 1940 (flew fine, but didn’t catch on because of insufficient hat room).

3. Drones: A CIA officer in Once a Spy deployed a miniature unmanned aerial vehicle (a.k.a. drone) that in real life could be seen only on drawing boards, at least in declassified circles. In 2009, a German company offered a similar drone to anyone with $40,000. In 2011, I bought a comparable French drone for $300 at a Brookstone (the Parrot AR, shown below delivering a newspaper).

Below is my favorite, the Harop UCAV (unmanned combat aerial vehicle), which, come to think of it, may be classified. Please don’t mention you saw it here.


4. The elephantmobile. It’s gonna be this or another Prius for us.


5. NSA flash drive. This isn’t really new tech. And I don’t particularly like mine—I haven’t even used it, and don’t plan to. The bidding is now open…


Keith Thomson

Keith Thomson played semi-pro baseball in France and drew editorial cartoons for New York Newsday before becoming a writer. His novels include the New York Times Best-Selling ONCE A SPY and TWICE A SPY.  His latest, 7 GRAMS OF LEAD, is available now. He lives in Alabama.