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The fan-favourite RPG Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic was the first to introduce a device known as a stealth field generator - a small and portable cloaking device that can be worn as a belt. There doesn't appear to be much mention of these devices outside of the Old Republic era (the only two exceptions mentioned being Star Wars: Battlefront II (from 2008) and Star Wars: Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy).

Why is that?

I understand that these devices have their limits (such as requiring the user to move slowly to remain cloaked, and it would take a particularly skilled user to be able to remain cloaked while running), but it still seems like these devices (or similar devices) would have been useful to the numerous factions in Star Wars (Rebels, the Empire, Sith, etc.) But, not only do these devices not appear in the original or prequel trilogies, they're not even mentioned, with the exception of the type of cloaking devices made for starships. They probably would have been particularly useful to the Rebel ground forces during the Battle of Endor.

It's also worth noting that you can obtain one of these devices in the opening chapter of the first KOTOR (if you spent any points on stealth when creating your character), which would seem to suggest that these probably aren't too difficult to obtain.

Did the technology somehow become lost between the events of the Jedi Civil War and the Clone Wars? Did it become obsolete somehow?

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    As tech, it could also have been obviated. One can just imagine that there is dirt-cheap technology which uncloaks people and that it's just a part of any home security system or droid nowadays, so that you can only be cloaked if you remain far from civilization—in which case it seems much less helpful. – CR Drost Apr 28 at 4:04
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    That's basically what I meant when I asked if it was rendered obsolete. Say, through the invention of some device designed to spot cloaked individuals or deactivate any and all cloaking devices. – Spar10 Leonidas Apr 28 at 4:32
  • The Old Republic Era exists solely within the realm of the video games (and a very few throwaway lines mentioned in an a few of the films/books). – Valorum Apr 28 at 12:50
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    Basically, I'm asking for an in-universe explanation for why an arguably useful piece of technology seems to have disappeared from the galaxy in the time between the Jedi Civil War and the Galactic Civil War. It seems like a bit of a problem with the lore if something like that existed but was never apparently used when it would have been useful. – Spar10 Leonidas Apr 28 at 17:19
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    This question was kind of sparked while watching The Empire Strikes Back when Captain Needa said: "No ship [as small as the Falcon] has a cloaking device." It made me think of the stealth field generator, which is small enough for a person to wear. – Spar10 Leonidas Apr 28 at 17:53
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There aren't much information on this in canon, but the articles on Wookieepedia states only few elements like Stygium and Hibridium as sources for stealth tech.

Again canon hasn't really addressed Cloaking much, but the legends entries for the aforementioned says that they are very rare elements and each only found on a few or even only a single planet.

Canon does state that stealth tech is used by Shadow troopers and by Grand Moff Tarkin on his personal ship, so my best guess is that the Empire completely controls these resources and tries to keep them hidden from the rest of the galaxy, while they work on how to best weaponize them.

As for captain Needas quote, if the Empire completely controls the technology any non-imperial stealth ship would have to be pre-imperial-era tech. Perhaps even pre-republic. Perhaps miniaturization wasn't possible with the tech available at that time?

Finally, as was pointed out in the comments, KOTOR is C-canon at best, so asking why KOTOR tech isn't available is sort of like asking why Kyle Katarn (who incidentally had a personal shield generator in his games) was stealing the same battle station plans during the time of Rogue One.

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