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An Observer was a block exclusive to the Minecraft: Bedrock Edition, and was added as part of the 0.15.0 update, but it is now available in the Minecraft Java Edition as of snapshot 16w03a. It is a Redstone-compatible block.
The observer has a small red dot on the back. The sides are similar to a Dispenser, but with a gray "belt" on them. The front is decorated with a stone face.
The observer has two sides: a detector side, and an output side. The output side will create a one-redstone-tick (two game ticks, or 0.1 seconds) if the block at the detector side is updated or changed. For a more elaborate demonstration, click here.
The observer can detect different stages of flowing water (the depth and position), the stages of growing grass or crops, and other observer blocks. Observers can be used to create cool lighting displays, vertical redstone signal transporters and clocks. It does this by detecting the change in the target block's ID or data value. In other words, an observer emits a redstone signal when a nearby block has been updated.