Spy cameras -- typically hidden around the houses of paranoid loons, tech-friendly perverts and, well, actual, real spies -- are not gadgets we recommend to our readers, by and large.

It gives the impression that you're uneasy in your own skin and/or don't trust anyone, or (and this is the worst crime of all) you're praying that one day you'll get lucky with some unfortunate girl and -- bingo! -- instant homemade sex tape.

But that doesn't make them any less ingenious. Keep reading for some of the most amazing and strange spy cameras of all time.


Screw
How it works: Besides the fact that it's cleverly designed to inhabit wall space, it's a simple color camera that just looks like a stray screw -- one you could easily hang a poster or portrait on.
Car Key
How it works: Click the button, and it starts recording. Simple, innocuous and tiny, it captures 640-by-480-pixel resolution at 29 frames per second, uses a micro SD card and has rechargeable batteries. It fits on your key chain, too.
ID Card
How it works: It looks just like your very own ID badge for work, except it's got a tiny hole in the front that captures 352-by-288-pixel AVI video and 1280-by-1024-pixel stills. It also recharges via USB and will fit in your wallet -- if you have a fat wallet, that is.
Teddy Bear
How it works: It's a cutesy-wutesy bearikins, with a camera for a nose. Less cutesy, but more useful. It's wireless and works well in low-light conditions. Which is ... creepy.
Calculator
How it works: Well, it adds up or subtracts or whatever you like, just like a regular calculator, but it also records high-quality sound and video to its 2 GB hard drive. Sadly, the solar power panels won't cut it; it will need actual batteries.
Exit Sign
How it works: Don't give this to your boss. God knows why you would, but just don't, as it would be the perfect way of checking on whether you were sneaking out early, functioning as it does as both a perfectly decent exit sign and a color camera.
Shaving Cream
How it works: This shaving cream can is capable of transmitting video footage straight to a receiver up to 500 feet away, but it does suffer from one obvious problem. Where would you keep it? In the bathroom. What gets humid after showers and the like? The bathroom. Queue one broken camera.
Crucifix
How it works: Live-blog your way to heaven with this wireless doohickey that also represents the sins our Lord washed away for us. Religion meets paranoia / investigative journalism. What would Jesus do? Buy a few, probably.
Coke Can
How it works: Though if you look at it with any great detail, it's obviously not a Coke can (the opening looks wrong, and on some of them, it spells "Caco Cola"), it is useful in many ways. It's a webcam, a security camera, and a pranking tool for especially dim-witted friends. Just don't put it in the recycling.
Boom Box
How it works: The radio works. The CD player works. Just don't use the cassette player, because that's where the camera works its magic. Then again, if it's playing music, the sound quality is going to be wack, dude.
DVD Player
How it works: What do a lot of robbers rob from places they rob? TVs, sure. Xboxes, yep. And ... DVD players. So stick a wireless video recorder in there and you'll grab a good snap of their faces in no time. Maybe.
Indoor Sprinkler
How it works: It won't put out the fire raging in your living room, but it will record it in surprisingly high definition as your most cherished items go up in flames. You've got insurance, right?
Toy Car
How it works: Don't leave this car in the hands of your nephew. He'll no doubt dribble on it, "drive" it into a wall or drop it into the cat's litterbox. Best stick it on a shelf or a ledge somewhere.