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Nevo Deep
Embeddable covert audio recorder

Nevo Deep is an ultra-thin embeddable audio recorder, developed around 2015 by Gedion Ltd. in Vilnius (Lithuania) as part of its covert surveillance portfolio. The device can be embedded in virtually any type of concealment — such as the spine of a book or the hem of a dress — and can be controlled remotely by means of a car key fob. The device is available to the law enforcement and intelligence community. In is the uncased version of the Nevo FX Radio credit card recorder.

The device is bascially an ultra-thin printed circuit board (PCB) with a total hight of just 1.4 mm. This allows it to be hidden in virtually any type of concealment, including books, furniture and even clothing. Sound is picked up by a sub-miniature sensitive digital MEMS microphone and processed by a Freescale KL26 microcontroller

Contrary to an RF radio bug, the device does not transmit a continuous signal, as a result of which it is more difficult to detect. Instead, it records conversations onto the onboard memory, either voice-activated, remote controlled or scheduled.
  
Nevo Deep

The device can be configured from a regular Windows PC running Nevo Manager. It is connected to the USB port of the PC by means of a special adapter. Inside the adapter are 4 spring loaded needles that mate with 4 gold plated contact pads at the bottom of the PCB. Nevo Deep behaves as a regular USB Mass Storage Device (similar to a memory stick) but uses a proprietary storage format. To prove that the recordings have not been manipulated, a digital signature is embedded in the recording, allowing the recorded sessions to be used as legal evidence in a criminal case.

Nevo Deep was available in 2017 for a price of EUR 1400 excluding VAT. A variant of the device with an external microphone was available for EUR 1640. The Nevo series of covert surveillance audio recorders is regarded as a serious competitor of the Nagra CCR credit card recorder.

Plastic storage case with Nevo Deep
Nevo Deep in storage case
Nevo Deep
Remote control unit (car key fob)
USB cradle
USB cradle (clamp) with Nevo Deep
Nevo Deep minature audio recorder
Nevo Deep with accessories
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Plastic storage case with Nevo Deep
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Nevo Deep in storage case
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Nevo Deep
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Remote control unit (car key fob)
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USB cradle
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USB cradle (clamp) with Nevo Deep
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Nevo Deep minature audio recorder
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Nevo Deep with accessories

Features
The image below provides a quick overview of the hardware features of the Nevo Deep. The unit measures 62 x 25 mm and is just 1.4 mm thick. All parts are at the top side of the printed circuit board (PCB). At the right is a rechargeable LiPo battery that is charged from the USB port of a PC.

Overview of the hardware features of the Nevo Deep covert surveillance audio recorder

Central to the design is a Freescale Kinetis K26 microcontroller with 2GB of flash storage to capture audio from the onboard digital MEMS microphone. The input port of the microphone is accessible through a tiny hole at the bottom of the PCB. A variant of the board with an external microphone is available as an alternative.  More hardware details below.

Control
The device is fully configurable via the USB port of a Windows (7-10) PC, using the Nevo Manager software. This port is also used for charging the onboard LiPo battery. For connection to the PC a special spring-loaded clamp is provided that mates with 4 contact pads at the bottom of the PCB. When the device is hidden inside, say, the hem of a dress, the contact pads can be accessed through the clothing. An LED can be enabled remotely to mark the position of the contact pads.

The device has a built-in radio transceiver that allows a recording to be started and stopped remotely from a distance up to 15 metres, using the supplied car key fob. Communication is two-way, so that the key fob provides a feedback when the device is on. The key fob can also be used to request the status of the rechargeable LiPo battery and the remaining storage capacity.

Recording
The device can make recordings in three different ways:

  1. Predetermined schedule (via Nevo Manager)
  2. Voice activated system (VAS)
  3. Remote controlled (via car key fob)


Click to see more

Parts
Storage case
Nevo Deep audio recorder
USB cradle (clamp)
USB
Remote control unit (car key fob)
Nevo Manager for Windows 7-10
Storage case
Nevo Deep is supplied in a compact plastic storage case, such as the one shown in the image on the right. Inside the case are a USB clamp, a remote control unit (the car key fob), a memory stick with the Nevo Manager software, and one or more Nevo Deep PCBs.

The image on the right shows a complete kit with a single Nevo Deep unit.

  
Nevo Deep in storage case

Audio recorder   Nevo Deep
The actual audio recorder is a bare printed circuit board (PCB) that is just 1.4 mm high. It is fully self contained, which means that even the battery is included. The device is small enough to be concealed in the spine or cover of a book, or in the hem of a piece of clothing.

The battery can be charged by connecting the device to the USB port of a PC. The PC is also used for configuring the device, altering the recording schedule, setting the Real Time Clock and downloading the recorded conversations.

  
Nevo Deep

USB clamp
A special spring-loaded clamp is provided for connecting the Nevo Deep PCB to the USB port of a PC. There are no electronics inside the clamp, just four spring-loaded contact pins that mate with the four gold-plated contact pads at the bottom of the PCB (marked J1).

The image on the right shows how the device is correctly inserted into the USB clamp. When correctly installed, the PC will automatically recognise the device. Note that this may take some time when the battery is empty.

  
Nevo Deep installed in USB cradle

Remote control unit
When enabled in the configuration of the device, it can be controlled remotely by means of the car key fob shown in the image on the right. It works on a channel in the 868 MHz ISM band.

There are three buttons: (1) on, (2) off and (3) function. Button (1) and (2) are used to turn the device ON and OFF. Button (3) allows the status of the device to be checked remotely. It can also be used to turn on the LED on the device, so that the USB contacts can be found more easily.

  
Remote control unit (car key fob)

Software   Nevo Manager
The device can be configured via a regular PC running Windows 7 to 10, using the proprietary Nevo Manager software that is supplied with the kit. It controls the recording schedule, the use of the remote control unit and the voice activiation system (VAS). It also allows the digitally signed audio recordings to be downloaded to the PC.

The Nevo Manager software is protected with an installation key.
  
USB memory stick with software

Plastic storage case with Nevo Deep
Nevo Deep in storage case
Nevo Deep minature audio recorder
USB cradle
Nevo Deep installed in USB cradle
USB cradle (clamp) with Nevo Deep
Remote control unit (car key fob)
USB memory stick with software
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Plastic storage case with Nevo Deep
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Nevo Deep in storage case
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Nevo Deep minature audio recorder
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USB cradle
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Nevo Deep installed in USB cradle
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USB cradle (clamp) with Nevo Deep
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Remote control unit (car key fob)
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USB memory stick with software

Interior
The device is built on a very thin printed citcuit board (PCB) that measures just 62 x 25 x 1.4 mm, including all components, even the battery. All parts are fitted on the top side of the board, whilst the bottom holds the antenna for the remote control. There are two microcontrollers, 2GB of flash memory, a sensitive microphone, an RF transceiver, power circuitry and a rechargeable battery.

Click to see more

The main circuit is built around a Freescale (now: NXP) MKL26Z128VFT4 microcontroller (marking M26M7VFT), which is part of the NXP Kinetis KL26 family [a]. It contains an ARM Cortex-M0+ core running at 48 MHz, 128 KB flash, 16 KB RAM, 16-bit ADC, 12-bit DAC, Real Time Clock (RTC), lots of timers and several digital interfaces, including GPIO, I2C, SPI, I2S, UART and USB.

When the KL26 controller is in deep sleep mode, power consumption is as low as 2 µA, with full state retention and a wakeup time of 4.5µs. Connected to this controller is a sensitive INMP-441 digital MEMS microphone made by InvenSense (now: TDK). Also connected to the controller are two 8Gb (1GB) NAND flash devices made by Spansion, in which the recorded audio is stored.

A smaller microcontroller of the Freescale KL03 family is present to control the entire circuit, communicate with the RF remote control transceiver, and wake the main controller when necessary. This MKL03Z8VFG4 controller — also an ARM Cortex-M0+ — has a deep sleep state with a standby current of just 77nA. Full state retention is possible from 50µA onwards [b].

Bottom side of the Nevo Deep PCB. Note the USB-contacts at the top left, the microphone port at the bottom left and the antenna at the bottom right.

A CC1101 integrated Radio Frequency (RF) transceiver made by Texas Instruments (TI) [c] is used for remote control via the car key fob. It provides 2-way communication and allows the device to be remote controlled from a distance of approx. 15 metres. Furthermore, it can be used to check the status of the battery and the storage capacity of the onboard memory remotely. The CC1101 can operate in the 315/433/868/915 MHz ISM/SRD bands [4][5]. These bands do not require a permit. The unit shown here, operates on channel 3 in the 868 MHz ISM band. The antenna for this frequency is integrated with the bottom side of the PCB, and is visible in the image above.

Nevo Deep seen from its longest side. The complete PCB with all parts is no higher than 1.4 mm.


Nevo Deep - top side
Nevo Deep - bottom side
Nevo Deep
Nevo Deep
Nevo Deep - bottom view
Tiny microphone hole
Antenna
Rechargeable battery
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Nevo Deep - top side
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Nevo Deep - bottom side
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Nevo Deep
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Nevo Deep
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Nevo Deep - bottom view
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Tiny microphone hole
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Antenna
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Rechargeable battery

Specifications
  • Device
    Embeddable ultra-thin low-power audio recorder
  • Purpose
    Covert recording
  • Channels
    1
  • Microphone
    InvenSense INMP-441 (built-in)
  • Dynamic range
    87 dB
  • Sensitivity
    -26 dBFS
  • Response
    60 - 15000 Hz (- 3dB)
  • Noise supp.
    -75 dBFS
  • Memory
    2 GB
  • Format
    PCM WAV
  • Sampling rate
    8, 16 or 24 kHz (16 kHz default)
  • Resolution
    16- or 24-bit (24-bit default)
  • Compression
    4-bit ADPCM (optional) 1
  • Signature
    1024 bit RSA
  • Standby time
    135 hours 2
  • Recording
    2 - 5.5 hours
  • Capacity
    150 hours (ADPCM, 8 kHz) subject to 2 GB limit
  • Schedules
    5 (for scheduled recording)
  • RTC
    Powered by main battery
  • Interface
    USB 2.0, USB 3.0
  • Power
    2.2 - 5.5V DC (from USB port)
  • Software
    Nevo Manager
  • Compatibility
    Windows 7 - 10
  • Remote control
    RF, 868 MHz ISM band, 15 metres
  • RF channels
    4
  • Temperature
    -10°C to +40°C
  • Dimensions
    62.0 × 25.0 × 1.4 mm
  • Weight
    < 1 gram
  1. Lossy compression which shrinks 16-bit files approx. 4 times.
  2. In Voice Activated Mode (VAS).

Datasheets
  1. Kinetis K26, MKL26Z128VFT4 (M26M 7VFT)
    Freescale/NXP, KL26P64M48SF5, Rev. 5, August 2014.

  2. Kinetis K03, MKL03Z8VFG4 (M3T4 AFGV)
    Freescale/NXP, KL03P24M48SF0, Rev. 5.1, August 2017.

  3. CC1101, Low-Power Sub-1GHz RF Transceiver
    Texas Instruments, SWRS0611, 2023.
     CC1101 Silicon Errata

  4. 8Gb NAND Flash Memory, S34ML08G1
    Spansion, Rev. 06, 1 April 2014.

  5. INMP-441 digital MEMS microphone
    InvenSense/TDK

  6. TPS62743 (TPS743) 300 mA High Efficiency Buck Converter
    Texas Instruments, SLVSCQ0B, June 2015 (Rev. March 2021).
Documentation
  1. Nevo Deep - Operating instructions
    Gedion Ltd. Undated.
References
  1. Anonymous, Gedion Nevo FX - THANKS !
    Crypto Museum, May 2023.

  2. Catalog 2017, Special audio and GPS tracking devices
    Gedion, 2017.

  3. Gedion, Pricelist 2017
    August 2017, valid until 1 November 2017.

  4. Wikipedia, ISM radio band
    Visited 30 May 2023.

  5. Wikipedia, Short-range device
    Visited 30 May 2023.

  6. Wikipedia, MEMS
    Visited 30 May 2023.
Further information
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Crypto Museum. Created: Sunday 28 May 2023. Last changed: Saturday, 03 June 2023 - 07:25 CET.
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