Nanite

Nanoscale device, smaller than a nanobot

Nanotech device
Image from Steve Bowers

Generic term for a molecular or nanoscale device, whether bionano or hylonano; a cluster of reactive nanoparticles. As a mechanistic product of its chemistry each nanoparticle responds to its environment in specific ways, and a cluster of nanoparticles designed to complement each other in specific ways gives the desired results over a variety of environmental conditions. The term nanite is sometimes synonymous with nanobot in popular or casual usage, but nanites are simpler and much smaller. Typically nanites are in the 10 to 1000 kilodalton range.

The closest natural analogues of nanites are quaternary structures formed by biomacromolecules: cell substructures such as ribosomes or the mechanisms that control movement through membranes are typical. Though far less versatile than nanobots, nanites are more durable within a given environment, better able to manipulate molecules at extremely small scales and better able to access nanoscale items. Applications of nanites include the synthesis of complex materials at a molecular level, synthesis or release of appropriate medicines in the presence of specific chemicals, computation in a liquid medium through the manipulation of local chemical optic and thermal properties, and of course use as components in more complex devices such as nanobots.
 
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    Nanite soap is a active bionano cleaning product used among during bionts who bathe. Acts to cleanse and renew the skin, hair, scales, feathers, and other bodily coverings of various beings.
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  • Nanodesign - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    The design of materials and goods using nanotechnology.
  • Nanodust - Text by Anders Sandberg
    Layers of dead nanomachinery sedimenting in the dust, on the bottom of lakes and elsewhere. Ideally nanodust should self-destruct, but there are always bugs in that. Micro- and biotech scavengers collect them, but there are always places they miss. So the puddles on a roof collect diamond dust which blows away when they dry out, which can both erode shiny facades, irritate people and catch fire.
  • Nanoengineer - Text by M. Alan Kazlev
    One who designs or programs assemblers or nano-devices, or designs functional structures on the atomic scale. Nanoengineering is based on applications from quantum mechanics, applied thermodynamics, chemistry, MEMS, mesotech, robotics, and swarm theory. Most nanoengineers are cyborgs or vecs who incorporate extensive pragmatic nanoborg augmentations, and generally work in a specific field of application, or as dedicated sophonts for a higher toposophic. Contrast with nanohacker.
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  • Nanosome - Text by Anders Sandberg, in Transhuman Terminology
    Generic term for any nanodevices (whether hylo or bio) existing symbiotically inside biological cells, doing mechanosynthesis and disassembly for it and replicating with the cell.
 
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Development Notes
Text by M. Alan Kazlev; amended by Stephen Inniss and Ryan B

Initially published on 09 December 2001.