Aura, a.k.a. CrystalBrite, a.k.a. Gleam: This is a once-suppressed temporary nanotic infusion designed to reveal EM radiation as a 'glow' to users, something extremely useful to intrusion and bomb-disposal specialists. The nanite temporarily colonizes the retina (some models also colonize the skin of the user for additional antenna size), generating a dispersed sensor array. This array communicates via low-power IR laser comms, which may be visible to IR scanners in some situations. After approximately an hour the array is configured and in communication with itself. The increased processing is used to generate directional data on EM noise, as well as prioritizing the 'brightness' of the various radiation sources. The retinal colony then begins stimulating the subject's optic nerve, generating the effects it has gained its name from.
Note that the user has no filtration capabilities with the base form of this nanite, it simply ranks the most energetic EM source in perception as the brightest and works its way down the list to the limits of human perception. Also, due to the limited nature of the sensors of the base form of this nanite infusion, what may appear to be a glowing line 'on top of' an object before the being may actually have been generated from a second object either inside or below the second.
The final straw was the realization that extensive use in high-signature environments tended to cause neural decay as the nanites overstimulate the optic nerve, leading to eventual blindness requiring regrowth of at least the optic nerve and sometimes the optic processing structures of the brain.
There is an improved, relatively safe version often called 'glitter' which has user-configurable filtration and sorting options. 'Glitter' also tends towards higher resolution both due to increasing colonization sites across the body and improved processing algorithms and computronium substructures.
The base form of Aura has an active period of approximately 12 hours, depending primarily on the intensity of the signals transmitted to the retina. One common modification to Aura was the introduction of either biologic-based or kinetic-based power generation capabilities, or improved degradation protocols, as older forms of Aura tended to leave behind portions of inactive nanites in intracellular spaces within the retina which occasionally cause immune system response.
Text by John B
Initially published on 31 December 2007.