What’s That? (65)

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Puzzle Series: What is this, or what do you want it to be?

We are long overdue for a puzzle, and I may need some help explaining this one…

Automatt, Dave.Hull, and 35 other people added this photo to their favorites.

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  1. biotron 96 months ago | reply

    mobile exchange / phone tapper, presumably?

  2. daphne_naturally 96 months ago | reply

    It's a close-up of Get Smart's shoe phone...

  3. jurvetson 96 months ago | reply

    Bingo Biotron, automatt and special credit to sec611 for being a good reader. =)

    When my Dad bought this, he was told that it was a covert phone wiretap device used by the FBI and CIA. It has U.S. Army registration tags and some other markings I wil look up tonight. I like the legalese disclaimer on the right.

    Anyone know anything more about this? Maybe I should give it a spin.

  4. Scott C (sec611) 96 months ago | reply

    I was just being a smartass, but I'll take whatever credit comes my way! :) I actually thought someone built it as a hobby or from a kit, the Dymo labels all over makes it look 'homemade.' ;}

  5. JJ San 96 months ago | reply

    This was the first black iPod design, no? I see the early scrollwheel prototype, the UV Meter visualization, the four buttons below the screen...

  6. Telstar Logistics 96 months ago | reply

    It's beautiful. How many stake-outs in how many seedy hotels must this thing have seen? Ah, if toggle switches could talk...

  7. Victor1 96 months ago | reply

    Is this how your dad kept tabs on you in college?

  8. xouroborus 96 months ago | reply

    Something Jobs and Woz lifted out of an unattended telco truck!? '_'

  9. Jef Poskanzer 96 months ago | reply

    I was going to guess it was a CRM-114 Discriminator.

  10. Todd Huffman 96 months ago | reply


    I keep missing these! Do more of them!

  11. nhr 96 months ago | reply

    A synthetic four-rotor Enigma encryption engine designed by Wernher von Braun at the US Government's behest ;-)

  12. Automatt 96 months ago | reply

    Yay! I got one right!!!
    I only had to lurk Steve's photostream for a mere eighteen months. =)
    posted to www.geekcrack.com

  13. Houser 96 months ago | reply

    Someone clearly has you all fooled. As anyone can plainly see, it is most definitely a time travelling device. Geesh (amateurs) :P

  14. Victor1 96 months ago | reply

    Or to get to the matrix on dialup.

  15. Chris Radcliff 96 months ago | reply

    JJ San: wow, it really is reminiscent of an early iPod. What would that hold, like, .3 songs?

    Definitely wondering what that DEAD button does. "KILLS LTS & PH. MIC", apparently.

  16. fotogail 95 months ago | reply

    found through the nsa tag while tagging a silly one of mine, and this is great! orgasmatron, phone home.

    what a cool gadget.

  17. fotogail 95 months ago | reply

    found through the nsa tag while tagging a silly one of mine, and this is great!

    place hands on handles? why would that be? uri geller's phone?

    what a cool gadget.

  18. farlane 95 months ago | reply

    Hello! I blogged your photo along with some news about the latest place where the NSA is spying on Americans. I believe that we are still un-surveiled at most Taco Bells and at church bingo nights.

    I also really miss Wired's feature like this and am glad to find this!

  19. flingitman 91 months ago | reply

    Open channel D

  20. j.ecomstock 50 months ago | reply

    This is a telephone line tap device that could be used on either side of the law. It was probably made by the Western Electric proto shop. The device would allow a user to camp on a telephone line to listen or record without detection. There was a second and third generation of this device that was better built. A company, for which I used to work, made the meter and some of the electronics for the device which was largely used in the old relay frame phone exchanges before cross bar made the device obsolete. Cross bar would allow camping on a line without so much external gear.

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