The RA-7 Protocol Droid was originally developed by Arakyd industries as its entry into the crowded protocol droid market. A fairly typical humanoid droid, the RA-7 is stiff-limbed and lacks dexterity, which is not an atypical feature for protocol droids. The droid’s outer skin is normally made of highly polished metal, as the original model was intended to be sold to diplomats and other high-profile individuals. The RA-7’s head is modeled after the Verpine species, with large visual receptors that take up more than half the front of the head and a tapering muzzle that ends in the droid’s vocabulator unit. Cost-saving measures taken on the original design resulted in cheaper vocoders being used, which can result in a mechanical buzz to many of these droids’ speech.
While many of the RA-7’s features can be found in most protocol droids, Arakyd built secondary espionage functions into a number of its production models, such as hidden comlinks and concealed holorecorders. These enhanced models also come with broadband photoreceptors which allow them to work in total darkness and exceptionally sensitive audio sensors that can easily distinguish whispers from across a large room. A magnetic sensor is also mounted above the visual receptor and this allows the droid to detect magnetic field shifts – a useful feature that allows it to detect hidden compartments. There is also sufficient space inside the head module to fit additional surveillance equipment. This secondary espionage function has resulted in some of these droids being “lost” by their owners, who came to suspect that the droid was spying on them. Since Arakyd’s patent expired, other manufacturers have taken up manufacturing new RA-7 units. Sales remain mediocre, however, due to the droid’s rather grim personality.