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"As the rate of technological development speeds up, the gap between science fiction and what we’re living now is getting narrower all the time."
- Richard Morgan

Stick-Tight  
  A general term for surveillance devices that will follow a subject and record speech or video.  

Vance provides an interesting variety of spy devices, both mechanical and animal.

Suthiro knit his furry brown eyebrows in puzzlement, glanced for the most fleeting instant upward.

Gersen continued, "There is a stick-tight watching us, although I have not yet located it. Its microphone probably registers our conversation...

From The Star King, by Jack Vance.
Published by Berkeley in 1964
Additional resources -

According to Vance, the stick-tight comes in at least five different variations:

  • "The servo-optical -- a spy cell supported by rotary wings, remotely guided by an operator."
  • "The automatic -- a similar cell to follow a radioactive or monochromatic tag fixed to, or smeared upon, a man or vehicle."
  • "The Culp spy master -- a semi-intelligent flying creature, trained to follow any subject of interest; clever, cooperative, reliable, but relatively large and noticeable."
  • "The Manx spy bird -- a smaller, less obtrusive creature, trained to perform similarly; less docile and intellegent, more aggressive."
  • "The Manx spy bird modification -- similar to the above, equipped with control devices."
You might want to take a look at a tiny modern-day device that seems to be just what Vance was talking about with his servo-optical stick-tight - the uFR-II micro flying robot. It even has image recording capability!

Thanks to an anonymous reader for providing the source and the quote.

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Additional resources:
  More Ideas and Technology from The Star King
  More Ideas and Technology by Jack Vance
  Tech news articles related to The Star King
  Tech news articles related to works by Jack Vance

Stick-Tight-related news articles:
  - Wing-Morphing Micro Air Vehicles
  - Aeryon Scout UAV Gets Upgrades
  - Eye-bot Lands On Your Ceiling
  - Drones Stick Tight, Remember Your Face

Articles related to Surveillance
Zephyr Solar-Electric Stratospheric Drone
Robot Hummingbird Hovers Biomimetically
Capitalist Big Brother Co-Opts Regular Big Brother
Juggalo Face Paint Disrupts Facial Recognition

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