Digital Cowboy's candid camera spy pen

The DVR-BP even works as a real pen

There may be plenty of nerdy spy gadgets around that allow the socially challenged to eavesdrop on their nearest and dearest, but few are as elegant as the latest Japanese video pen from Digital Cowboy.

Unlike similar gadgets that cost much more, the dully named DVR-BP will set you back just ¥17,800 (£87) – a mere snip for the opportunity to alienate and enrage all and sundry.

Hours of furtive filming

The 30g pen does its thing through a 1mm hole just above the pocket clip and a microphone secreted just beneath it. A generous 2GB of onboard memory should be enough for several hours of 352 x 288-pixel 15fps video compressed in the AVI format.

Power comes courtesy of a lithium-ion battery that charges by USB, giving two hours of runtime from a similar period attached to a PC. Naturally, the DVR-BP operates as a mass-storage device when connected and – best of all – it even works as a real pen.

J Mark Lytle was an International Editor for TechRadar, based out of Tokyo, who now works as a Script Editor, Consultant at NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation. Writer, multi-platform journalist, all-round editorial and PR consultant with many years' experience as a professional writer, their bylines include CNN, Snap Media and IDG.