1. Poison-tipped umbrella
Probably the most infamous real-life spy gadget is the umbrella used by the Bulgarian secret services -- with KGB help -- to kill dissident writer and broadcaster Georgi Markov. KGB technicians converted the tip of an ordinary umbrella into a silenced gun that could fire a pellet containing a lethal dose of ricin. On September 7 1978, Markov felt himself being jabbed in the thigh as he walked across Waterloo Bridge. A man behind him apologised and stepped into a taxi. Markov died four days later. No arrests have ever been made.