Last year, the RSGB was approached by the BBC to find experts to contribute to its planned series ‘The Secret Genius of Modern Life’.
For episode one, which takes a look at the bank card, Neil Smith, G4DBN re-created the Great Seal Bug – a wooden seal, gifted to the US embassy in Moscow in 1945, and which contained a covert listening device. The technology developed for the bug was an early example of RFID, which is what allows contactless card payments to work.
Neil has now released a series of fascinating videos on his YouTube channel which explain the history of the Bug as well as the mechanical design and machining needed to re-create it.
You can find the videos in Neil’s playlist on ‘Machining and Microwaves’ and watch the original BBC Two programme on BBC Sounds – this episode is available for a further seven months.