So picture this: you start noticing things missing from your office desk and your papers somehow get rearranged when you get back from your break. Is something up or are you just imagining things? Your office may already have a security system installed with camcorders perched in the corners of the room but most of them are clearly visible to the naked eye. So why not just swoop in and take something when the camera's not facing your way or when you know just where to tread on in the camer's blind spot?
A lot of covert and hidden spy cameras are readily available nowadays and I thought it would be interesting to cover these in a series of posts dedicated to filming people on the sly. I think there are advantages as well as disadvantages in technology such as this. While these gadgets will allow you to catch some culprits or misbehaving office personnel without them knowing it, these devices can also be abused by people who would simply use them to invade other people's privacy worse.
One of the more common and clever spy cameras are hidden in pens. After reading up on some of these gadgets, I probably will never look at seemingly ordinary black pens the same way as will you.
It's a sleek silver-trimmed pen and it's not something that would seem out of the ordinary if, say, you just stuck it in your pen holder and waited for the red-handed culprit to come around to your table (or office or kitchen or wherever it is you're planning to use it in.) Here's more about the Sphere Gadgets Spy Pen:
"The original SPHERE spy pen to catch your family and friends on video without them noticing! Encased in this elegant looking executive pen is a 2.0 megapixel CMOS lens that captures video in super-clear HQ 640 x 480 pixel resolution. Thanks to the Micron Chipset processor, video saves in a smooth 30 frames per seconds - the frame rate you get from most full-sized digital cameras! The SPHERE spy pen also takes JPEG still images at 1600 x 1200 photo resolution, all at the push of a button. 4GB of built-in internal memory that can store over 1 hour 30 minutes of video footage. Viewing and copying files is easy - unscrew the barrel of the pen to reveal the USB port which connects to your PC or MAC. No adapters/cables or drivers needed. Once connected, the unit becomes a conventional 4GB flash drive. Simply drag and copy files to transfer the video and images onto your computer in minutes! Turn pen tip to extend ballpoint pen to write just like any other pen. Perfect for sales, law enforcers, spy shopping, pranks, parties, spy games, home movies, internet fun, lawyers, evidence collection and more."
Click here to get the Sphere Gadgets Spy Pen from Amazon. (Update: This spy pen is no longer available. Another well rated video pen is here.)
They can look left and right and up and down for any hidden surveilance cameras but they won't expect to find one in this pen. Here's more about Swann's Pencam:
"The Swann PenCam DVR Mini Video Camera & Recorder is the gadget you have been looking for. The stylish looking black ballpoint pen has hidden talents as it contains a pinhole video camera so small you almost can’t see that it’s there. Its ingenious design means that inside the pen is a 2GB USB memory stick that can be plugged straight into your PC’s USB port for easy backing-up of up to 3 hours of recorded video footage at a time. What’s more, you can use the USB port recharge the pen’s battery to give up to 45 minutes of life before needing recharging again. The PenCam records AVI video files which are compatible with Windows XP and Vista. Once backed-up upload your videos to you favorite websites, such as YouTube, Facebook, MySpace and more. The PenCam DVR is perfect for sales people, lawyers, law enforcement, mystery shopping, covert surveillance or internet fun. It’s an affordable business person’s accessory or a cool gift idea."
Click here to get the Swann SW234-PC2 Pencam from Amazon. (This camera is no longer available. Some very well rated video camera pens are available here.)
Going up to talk to the suspected employee? Clip this onto your breast pocket and record the conversation. You might be surprised to observe some things that you failed to notice while you were talking personally with your employee. Here are some specifications for the Encore Pen Camcorder:
- 2 MP With 640x480 High Res Recording
- 4G Storage and USB 2.0
- Interchangable Ball Pen Design
- 2-3 Hour working Time
- Auto Save at Power Shut off
Video Format: 640x480 Pixels Video Recording with high senstive Microphone: Built-in 4G Memory. Video format: AVI;USB Port PC Compatibility: Plug & Play Connection Interface: USB 2.0 (USB 1.1 Compatible) Data Transfer Speed: 700kB/s (Read) 600kB/S(write) System Requirement: WINDOWS 2000/XP/MAS OS/ LINUX Battery Type: Built-in Rechargeable Lithium Battery Battery Up Time: Approx. 2-3 Hours, Black Color"
Click here to get the Encore S-P2010HDT Pen Camcorder from Amazon.
4. DBTech Mini Video Pen
If you're looking for a spy pen on a lower budget then DBTech's is the way to go. Leave the pen wherever you suspect some fishy activity going on and plug it in to your PC to see if there really is something going on. Who would suspect that a pen could bring an office coup d'etat down? Here's more about the DBTech Mini Video Pen:
"The DBTech Mini DVR pen is an easy to use high quality pen camera, Records high resolution color video and still images. Micro SD slot supports up to 16gb card.
- 2.0 mega pixels CMOS camera for clear digital recording
- Video resolution : 640x480 30fps
- Photo resolution:1280x960, JPG format
- Easy connection with PC/Laptops, no driver needed
- Supports up to 16gb Micro SD Card
- Built-in lithium rechargeable battery"
Click here to get the DBTech Mini Video Pen from Amazon. (This camera is no longer available. Some very well rated video camera pens are available here.)
That rounds off our select choices for spy cameras cleverly hidden into ordinary-looking pens. The thing to keep in mind when it comes to these gadgets is to use them the way they were meant to be used: appropriately and responsibly. And to everyone else, be careful–your boss's pen may be watching you.
Catch the second installment of the Spy Camera Series here:
Watch Out for my Watch.
Top 10 Best Hidden Spy Cameras For The Surveillance Enthusiast