"Tokyo homeless people reiterate the whole nature of living in Tokyo in cardboard boxes, they're only slightly smaller than Tokyo apartments, and they have almost as many consumer goods. It's a nightmare of boxes within boxes."
In the story, the tracer-birds are used to spy upon the novel's main character. It is noteworthy that Zelazny hit upon a useable way for UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) to do solar charging automatically.
The earliest reference that I know of for a robot that can charge itself is from the 1960 short story Callahan and the Wheelies by Stephen Barr. See the article for the self-charging robot.
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''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'
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'A metal... light as cork.'
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'Faster the cubes moved...'
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'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'
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'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'
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'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'
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'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'
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Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.
3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
'This thing will start at one end of ...a house and build it complete to the other end, following drawings only.'
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