[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/{{Sinfest}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/sinfest_spy_drone_5.jpg]]]]

A small (usually basketball sized or smaller) robot whose only purpose in life is to record or transmit an A/V feed. Usually hovers, but other variations exist.

They sometimes overlap with {{Spy Bot}}s but are more closely related to harmless {{Attack Drone}}s, likewise, sometimes they are magical instead of technological in nature.

As SinisterSurveillance, many these bots are iconic ways to identify the setting as a {{dystopia}} of BigBrotherIsWatching.

See also PatrollingMook. Contrast with AnimalEyeSpy. Might be deployed by the, well, DroneDeployer.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'': Asakura's artifact, the Oculus Corvinus/Raven's Eyes. Six small, flying robots used for spying and information-gathering. Perfect for the SchoolNewspaperNewshound. A recent chapter comes up with a more complicated use for them, which involves using a ghost to transmit information from one camera to another, so other people can watch the action without being detected.
* ''Franchise/LyricalNanoha'' has the Wide Area Search spell, which has Raising Heart releasing inconspicuous floating energy orbs that remotely scan areas.
* The Android Saga of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' reveals that Red Ribbon Army scientist Dr. Gero has insect-sized robots monitoring the heroes for years, studying their techniques so his Androids would know exactly how to beat them. Another, possibly separate, robot was collecting DNA samples so he could create Cell.
* In ''Anime/ErgoProxy'', Vincent and Pino [[spoiler:have escaped Romdeau and are now living in somewhat of a shanty-town, with about 15 people in its precinct. Vincent almost has a run-in with one, and after he and Pino settle in, more are sent out.]] Raul, the newly-appointed Director-General of the Citizen Security Bureau is to blame for this.
* In ''Manga/HunterXHunter'', Musse's [[LifeForce Nen]] ability, Secret Window, functions like this. It takes the form of three small [[OminousOwl owl-like]] psychic constructs that follow a target and allows Musse to see and hear everything that the owls can see. One of them requires physical contact with the target but cannot be seen or interacted with by anyone but Musse, though the other two owls' traits are unknown. [[spoiler:Secret Window continues to function even after Musse's death too, which has a purpose]] [[spoiler:as his boss, Benjamin, inherits the owls and can see and hear through them.]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Franchise/MarvelUniverse: the Rigellian Recorders.
* ''ComicBook/AstroCity'': In the story ''Father's Day'', Jack-In-The-Box has one in the fight with the Brass Monkey. [[spoiler:This is because he's the third Jack-In-The-Box, taking over for his predecessor whose wife is having a child. The camera lets Jack-2 monitor from his basement headquarters and give Jack-3 advice and tactical updates.]]
* In Franchise/TheDCU, this is one of the functions of Mister Terrific's T-Spheres.
* ''ComicBook/JudgeDredd'': There are a ''lot'' of surveillance drones hovering around Mega City One so that the Judges can spy on the people.
* ''ComicBook/{{Copperhead}}'': Boo has one he uses to collect all available evidence by digitally mapping crime scenes.
* The ''[[ComicBook/RobinSeries Robin]]'' villain "Jaeger" uses surveillance drones to track his targets and film his kills. He sells the ensuing snuff films on the black market.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheIncredibles'': Syndrome used these on his remote volcanic island hideout
* In ''WesternAnimation/FelixTheCatTheMovie'' , the Duke used floating cubes with spotlights shining out of them as a sort of observation device to support his army of mechanized cylinders.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* In ''Film/{{Sneakers}}'', a non-mobile version was used to hack into a building security system.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'': [[http://starwars.wikia.com/wiki/Hovercam Hovercam]] droids and a few probe droids
* ''Film/TheyLive'': [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=THLT5iJldk0 Flying little drones]] that are invisible to regular people.
* ''Film/BigTroubleInLittleChina'' had one these spying for the EvilSorcerer Lo Pan.
* In ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartII'', after a ruckus outdoors, hovering robots owned by ''[=USA=] Today'' swoop down and begin taking pictures for tomorrow's paper.

* One of these (called a "Public Eye") appears near the beginning of Creator/RobertAHeinlein's novel ''Literature/{{Friday}}''. It's used by police to detect crimes in progress.
* Creator/LarryNiven's short story "Literature/CloakOfAnarchy" had the Copseye, which was used to monitor Free Parks. It also had a stunner to knock out those breaking the Parks' sole rule: don't hurt others.
* ''Literature/{{Uglies}}'': Aya has one of these named Moggle that she treats like a pet.
* The optic probe device used by the Martians in ''Literature/TheWarOfTheWorlds'' - the book and all movies - roughly fills this trope.
* In ''Literature/HeartOfSteel'', Shark Reef Isle has a number of these patrolling the island lair of super-villain Alistair Mechanus, variously resembling insects or floating balls.
* One appears in the 2005 ''Literature/NickVelvet'' story "The Theft of the Empty Paint Can". At the time, drone technology was so new that the editor felt compelled to explain that this was a real item.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/StargateUniverse'': the ConfessionCam.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** Goa'uld have access to these.
** The SGC's MALP probes qualify as a more primitive variation, as do the UAV drones.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'': the Wraith have them, as well.
* Human journalists in ''Series/BabylonFive'' regularly use hovering cameras.
* [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]] has its [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin CamBot]].
* ''Series/TheTwilightZone1985'' episode "To See The Invisible Man" had floating security drones used to watch for people breaking laws.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** One of these turns up in the story "Silence in the Library" as a link to [[PoweredByAForsakenChild Cal]].
** A Classic Series example: The Fifth Doctor's second story, "Four to Doomsday", also features a similar device, known as the Monopticon, patrolling the corridors of Monarch's massive spaceship.
* Amazon.com's web series ''Series/AlphaHouse'' has the Watt Brothers only come to meetings on a video receiver and camera mounted on a drone.
* ''Series/{{Batman}}'' featured a variant on this trope:: a remotely-controlled model plane that tracked radio signals to their origin, which would have seemed a ''very'' high-tech concept in 1966.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Champions}}'' supplement Gadgets! had a "TV Spy Eye" device.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}''
* ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'': The prying eye and eyes of the king spells.
* The Wizard Eye spell in ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}: Magic''. There's also a Wizard Nose...
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}''; The servo skulls for the Inquisition, and the Tau drones.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/BaldursGate 2'' had a magical one in the form of the Wizard's Eye Spell. It could go anywhere the player could and was invisible, though not invulnerable. Anything that could see through invisibility, could kill it.
* As you get closer to Cortex's castle in ''VideoGame/{{Crash Bandicoot|1996}}'', these start to appear.
* ''VideoGame/DeusEx'' had an augmentation that allowed you to deploy one of these to scout (and it could let off an {{EMP}} pulse to sabotage electronic devices). It was considered excessively expensive for its utility.
* ''VideoGame/DukeNukemManhattanProject'' has a variation that explodes in close proximity to Duke.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'': Eyebot robots, have a defence laser but are usually friendly to the player character.
** A [=RobCo=] exhibit in ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' confirms that they can "recognize your face and voice with advanced facial and auditory recognition technology."
*** Some Eyebots in Fallout 3 can call in reinforcements after a certain stage in the game and a random encounter shows two wastelanders discussing whether or not its spying on them whilst it hovers inbetween the pair.
** In the spinoff game ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'', your companion Arcade Ganon[[spoiler:, who is actually a refugee from the now defunct Enclave and would probably know better,]] expresses a distrust of your RobotBuddy ED-E, who is a SuperPrototype for a model of eyebot that never was produced, specifically because it may be surveiling him.
* In ''VideoGame/GhostReconAdvancedWarfighter'', the player can use a Sikorsky Cypher UAV to scan hostile areas.
* ''VideoGame/HalfLife2'': Scanners. They hover right in your face and take a snapshot of you, which creates [[InterfaceScrew a blinding flash]]. Destroying them may net you a battery, which charges up your suit a little bit. A different kind later on also gives your position away to Striders with each photo.
* ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaSkywardSword'' has the Sentrobes, which are flying security cameras with a short-range projectile launcher and the ability to launch self-propelled bombs with a timed fuse.
* ''Franchise/SuperMarioBros'': the hover-cam is operated by the cloud-riding Lakitu's, controlling said camera with a fishing pole, odd but close enough.
* ''Franchise/MassEffect'': standard issue for reporters.
* ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare'': "OUR UAV IS ONLINE!"
* ''VideoGame/Payday2'': The Murky Station level has drones that act as flying security cameras.
* ''VideoGame/PerfectDark'': the "Camspy".
* ''VideoGame/{{Prototype}}'': Drones are able to detect Alex and deploy a reaction squad.
* ''VideoGame/StarCraft'': Observers
* In ''VideoGame/XBeyondTheFrontier'' the Xperimental Shuttle is equipped with a camera drone that is basically an excuse for the devs to have a free-flying external view.
** ''[[Videogame/{{X}} X3: Reunion]]'' features the tiny Camera Drone (about twice the size of a space suit) which is used in several missions but is otherwise unavailable for use. The Motion Analysis Relay System [[GameMod script package]] in ''X3: Terran Conflict'' and ''Albion Prelude'' in allows the [[AttackDrone fighter drone]] to coordinate as "Goblins", which can function as a surveillance net, by towing surveillance satellites around the controlling ship, or remotely deploy satellites far away for exploration or [[TargetSpotter target spotting]] for the [[MacrossMissileMassacre missile frigates]]
** ''Videogame/XRebirth'' has the Beholder ROV, a tiny drone that can be deployed from the ''Albion Skunk''. It's used to scan ships and stations for potential deals, but most players use them for [[SceneryPorn exploring the detailed stations]].
* Ogre Magi in ''VideoGame/WarcraftII'' and Warlocks in ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' have access to a spell, the Eye of Kilrogg, that is essentially a magical version of a surveillance drone (which takes the shape of a big green, disembodied floating eye).
* In ''VideoGame/HeroesOfTheStorm'', the ''Scouting Drone'' talent and its variants are used to reveal an area for several seconds, exposing stealthed enemies in its radius.
* The CYPHER drones in ''VideoGame/MetalGearSolid2SonsOfLiberty'' are cameras with a hover fan. They'll sound the alarm if you're spotted by one, but they don't attack on their own.
* Remote Eye Cameras in ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}''.
* ''Franchise/{{Halo}}'': The UNSC has a variety of small autonomous surveillance drones. The beginning of ''VideoGame/{{Halo 2}}'' even shows camera drones present at a military award ceremony. The Covenant also have their own version, known as "Eyes".
* Videogame/{{Rage}} has Authority Drones, which are designed to scout ahead and look for Ark survivors. Their usefulness is debatable, as despite having several in the players face over the course of the game the Authority never seem to collect a picture of you.
* Videogame/ProjectEden has two kinds of deployable drone, a hovering ball with a limited battery life and a tracked rover with a small energy weapon. Both can press buttons.
* The USA has this option in two flavors in ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals''. One is bound to a vehicle and increases sight range while detecting invisible enemies, the other is a General power that makes one circle over a certain area indefinitely, like an infinite Spy Satellite power. The latter is cloaked, the former isn't, and both can be shot down by anything that can target air units (the vehicle-bound kind also dies out if the parent vehicle is destroyed.
* The Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog series has Gun Beetles. While most of them have some type of weapon, the Mono Beetles do not, and thus function as this.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience'': the robot cameras on dynamic balancing platform.
* The Tic-Tocs (robot birds) from ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'', apparently, though who exactly they're working for is a mystery to the Court and the Forest both.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'' The Devil has [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-09-30 these]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The press uses them in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanBeyond''.
%%* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''
%%* ''WesternAnimation/{{Wakfu}}'':
* The non-syndicated ''SonicTheHedgehog'' cartoon, affectionately known as [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Series/SonicTheHedgehog?from=Main.SatAM SatAM]] - featured such "spy orbs" utilized by Robotnik to monitor his city.
* The Autobots' Sky Spy from ''Franchise/TransformersGeneration1'' was a long range satellite version of this.
* WesternAnimation/{{Detentionaire}} has eyebots for a school of all things.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Micro Air Vehicles are being designed for the army.
* There was, for a time, a plan to develop softball-sized robots of this type for use on the International Space Station. They would be capable of moving about on their own by using ducted fans to produce thrust. Since the ISS is in a microgravity environment, they would effectively be capable of flying around the station in adherence to the spirit of the trope. Likely served as the inspiration for the SGU Kinos mentioned above.
* The Air Hogs Hawk-eye is the civilian version, you can even post your findings online.
* The AR Drone from Parrot has the same capabilities and carries both nose and belly cameras.
** It spawned an entire family of small helicopter drones (factory- or enthusiast-built) driven by an iPhone or {{Android}} device.