The Surveillance Orb bear a resemblance to a primitive-looking mollusk called the nautilus. It is a small, hovering, spheroid observation robot with a camera lens at one end. The lens is protected by four metal plates. They can fly at any height and have no weapons or attack capability. The video feed from the cameras is picked up directly at Dr. Robotnik's control room in Robotropolis.
A different design of the Surveillance Orb appeared in "Heads or Tails". This one resembled actual eyes suspended from floating platforms.
On one occasion, Sonic caught a Surveillance Orb and kept it in his backpack. He used it to trick Robotnik into recalling a group of Stealthbots, then to taunt the dictator when the Stealthbots exploded (Sally had previously reprogrammed them to detonate on recall).