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-> ''"Industrial Grade Nano-Paste, Planet's most valuable commodity, can also be one of its most dangerous. Simply pour out several canisters, slide in a programming transponder, and step well away while the stuff cooks. In under an hour the nano will use available materials to assemble a small factory, a hovertank, or enough impact rifles to equip a regiment."''
-->-- '''Col. Corazon Santiago''', ''Planet: A Survivalist's Guide''; [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKcEwUcVBHs "The Nanofactory,"]] ''VideoGame/SidMeiersAlphaCentauri''

%%One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

In [[AltumVidetur Latin]], ''nanus'' means "dwarf". In science, the prefix ''nano-'' means "one billionth" of something. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanotechnology Nanotechnology]] is technology on a scale of 1-100 nanometers (1 nanometer being one billionth of a meter.)

Nanotechnology has become an all-purpose [[AWizardDidIt magic]] substitute for soft science fiction and sci-fi-flavored fantasy. Nano is the latest {{Sci Fi Name Buzzword|s}}; it is the new pseudo-Greek for [[PhlebotinumDuJour phlebotinum]]. Nanotech supplies a myriad of exciting powers with a satisfying patina of plausibility.

In an apparent contradiction, nanotechnology leads to interesting plots and settings in [[MohsScaleOfScienceFictionHardness hard science fiction.]] If one could make a tiny robot at the nanometer scale[[note]]A hydrogen atom is about 0.1 nanometers across, visible light has a wavelength of 400-800 nanometers and a human hair is about 100,000 nanometers wide[[/note]] and that little robot created another, and those two robots made four...

Once you have a vast mass of these robots, all ready to accept orders and shuffle stuff around at the molecular level, they can potentially do anything nature does and much, much more. Real-life nanomachine research is being done in areas such as medicine, manufacturing, and chemical engineering.

More often fiction delights in taking nanotech way, way beyond the plausible. Nanomachines, "nanites" or "nanobots" [[PhlebotinumDuJour are a writer's best friend]]. Writers are not expected to ''show'' the nanomachines doing whatever it is that they do, all they have to do are the results. And the results can be ''anything''. Nanomachines can be depicted as masses of cloud/liquid in external "colonies", VoluntaryShapeshifting {{Blob|Monster}}s, or syringes of ''stuff'' to be injected into humans and have [[SuperSerum fantastic]] [[{{Transhuman}} results]], usually in the form of [[HowToGiveACharacterSuperpowers superpowers]], but sometimes in the form of a BalefulPolymorph or HarmfulHealing.

Note that real-life physics puts constraints on what nanomachines could accomplish; for instance, without some source of energy, they will just sit there being molecules, or at best work veeeery slowly using ambient energy. But most writers rarely study the subject in any detail; it's easier to just use them as GreenRocks that can do anything the plot requires.

One reasonably common science-fiction scenario involves nanomachines being programmed to build copies of themselves using materials in their environment. If not stopped, such nanobots could theoretically grow exponentially, turning all available material on Earth into more nanobots and ending life as we know it -- this is known as the "GreyGoo" scenario. Some scientists (and noted homeopathy fan, HRH The Prince of Wales) have expressed concern that this scenario could actually happen in real life, although most consider it extremely [[http://nanotechweb.org/cws/article/indepth/19648 unlikely]].

Because it is so powerful, in settings where science is ''inherently'' bad, expect nanotech to be way up there on the ScaleOfScientificSins.

Nanotech is a fairly common cause for the drastic scenario called TheSingularity. The concepts of supply and demand change utterly when humanity becomes capable of mass-producing machinery that can turn anything into anything, ensuring supply is as close to infinite as is possible. And our basic nature is thrown up into the air once we direct nanites to work on ''us''.

Nanites themselves will usually either be [[SlidingScaleOfRobotIntelligence dumb as bricks]], or [[HiveMind networked into a fully sentient mass]]. Some works may invoke MechanicalEvolution to make the nanomachines smarter/better/deadlier.

An important note, though: While many of the listed examples, and indeed fiction in general, may lead you to think otherwise, nanotechnology does '''not''' only involve Nanomachines. It's actually a lot broader than that, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanomaterials several]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanoelectronics applications]] don't actually need nanomachines to be realized (though nanomachine usage would certainly improve them considerably).

!!Examples with their own subpages
* Nanomachines/AnimeAndManga
* Nanomachines/{{Literature}}
* Nanomachines/LiveActionTV
* Nanomachines/VideoGames
* Nanomachines/WesternAnimation

!!Other examples

* ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'' - Authority member The Engineer replaced all of her blood with nanomachines. She can [[GreenLanternRing create nearly anything with these]], from {{Arm Cannon}}s to [[MesACrowd duplicates of herself]]. This being ''ComicBook/TheAuthority'', many of the implications of these powers are investigated.
* During Creator/GrantMorrison's ''Comicbook/NewXMen'' run, Cassandra Nova attacked the team on a cellular level with nanosentinels.
* In the ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog'' [[Comicbook/SonicTheHedgehog comic series]], some of Eggman's creations resulted in a hivemind mass of nanites that collected into a "city" in the forest. When an AI system of Eggman's was eliminated, NICOLE, the AI from Sally's computer, took over the dormant nanites herself and reconfigured them into a modified replica of Mobotropolis, giving her friends a new home. Nicole has been shown to occasionally modify the city structure through the nanites, though if her attention is divided she may have trouble maintaining everything at once.
** NICOLE also occasionally uses those nanites to create a physical form for herself, though she just as often uses holograms instead.
* In the fourth volume of the ''Comicbook/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|Mirage}}'' comic book, it is revealed that Baxter Stockman had infected April O'Neil with "[=NanoBaxterBots=]", which were slowly killing her. As a response, utrom Glurin and Professor Honeycutt devise [=NanoTurtleBots=]--nanomachines that draw their fighting skills from the turtles' memories, which they then insert into April.
* ''Xombi'', from MilestoneComics, is about a scientist who becomes a superhero after being injected with a nanomachine "virus" that's [[HealingFactor capable of extensive tissue regeneration]].
* ''ComicBook/IronMan'' - Tony Stark once killed [[YellowPeril The Mandarin]] with nanomachines, also his "Extremis" Armour is supposedly this.
** Iron Man's new bleeding edge armor is made completely out of nanites and liquid metal.
** His original suit was powered by "tiny transistors," the predecessor to today's nanomachines in terms of function and origin.
* By the unspecified future of ''ComicBook/{{Transmetropolitan}}'', "Makers", which use nanomachines to create food, clothing, and most other necessities, are commonplace. Spider Jerusalem sarcastically reminisces about his youth, where virtually everything he ate, wore, or owned was made from reprocessed lizard.
** One filler issue has an interview with a man who lost his legs stopping a GreyGoo outbreak -- and who was then fired for not following the standard procedure of letting Blue Goo devour the entire endangered block and everyone still in it.
** Also there's the foglets, who are people who [[BrainUploading download their consciousness]] into a cloud of utility fog.
* In Adam Warren's version of the ''ComicBook/DirtyPair'', nanotechnology is strictly regulated to the point of being outlawed, after a GreyGoo outbreak called the "Nanoclysm" [[EarthThatWas destroyed the Earth]] years ago. One villain uses nanobots to grant himself a HealingFactor; the Angels beat him up so much that the waste heat from the repairs does as much damage as the beating.
* Creator/ValiantComics and the successor Acclaim Comics have multiple nanite-powered heroes. Valiant's Bloodshot has nanite-infused blood that, in the Creator/ValiantComics incarnation, survives as the "Blood of Heroes" well into the 41st Century.
** Acclaim's Bloodshot's nanites may not be that long-lived, but were capable of healing any injury [[spoiler:provided they had enough raw material to work with]], reshaping his appearance, and [[SugarWiki/CrowningMomentofAwesome making a modem jack in his neck for free internet access]]. Acclaim's version of Magnus Robot Fighter was never explicitly stated to have nanites, but his blood was metallic and capable of healing wounds. You do the math.
* ''Franchise/TheFlash'' - Flash's enemy Abra Kadabra is a time traveler who uses technology to simulate magic. At least one recent story described most of his tricks as being based on nanotech.
* The magic behind virtual reality in ''ComicBook/{{kimmie66}}''.

* In the ''Franchise/HarryPotter'' fic ''[[http://fanfic.potterheadsanonymous.com/viewstory.php?sid=65&ageconsent=ok&warning=4 Draco Malfoy and the Sins of the Father,]]'' Draco tried to commit suicide after his mother was raped and killed as a punishment for his father's foul-ups, but was saved and transported to St. Mungo's where he was faced with becoming a quadruple amputee. Rather than have a crippled heir, his father had nanomachines injected into him, making him stronger, smarter and utterly incapable of committing permanent self-harm.
* In the VisualNovel/{{Clannad}} fanfic FanFic/AnEndToAllThings, it's explicitly stated that Okazaki has these in his blood for body maintenance purposes, although they can also be used for making an AbsurdlySharpBlade.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Hiro's microbots in ''Disney/BigHero6'' act similarly to nanobots but are visible to the naked eye, they interlock with one another to form structures and waldoes under the control of a neural interface. Unlike other versions of this trope he did not program his microbots to self-replicate. [[spoiler: This becomes a plot point when he and his teammates attack Callaghan's microbot structures, sending the bots into the portal Callaghan had set up to destroy Krei's corporate headquarters, robbing Callaghan of his main weapon.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Franchise/{{Terminator}}'':
** ''Film/Terminator2JudgmentDay'': The T-1000 is often explained within fandom as being able to change shape because it is made of nanomachines, even though that explanation is not in the movie.
** The villain of ''Film/Terminator3RiseOfTheMachines'' ''is'' made of nanomachines on top of an android skeleton, allowing for some MagicalComputer effects, as well as not suffering from the T-1000's inability to create complex tools from its substance.
* The source of KITT's superpowers in the 2008 ''Series/KnightRider'' PilotMovie. It's even what keeps the armor together; when the computer is turned off, the car's an ordinary non-[[ImmuneToBullets bulletproof]] ProductPlacement... I mean Mustang.
* In ''Film/{{Virtuosity}}'' an evil AI named Sid 6.7 enters the real life by creating itself an avatar using nanotech. He/It absorbs glass to heal.
* When used as directed, the nanobots on the salvage ship in ''Film/JasonX'' can heal wounds and restore tissue damaged by cryogenic freezing. If malfunctioning, they can be used to rebuild a shot-to-living-hell psycho killer into a NighInvulnerable cyborg.
* Nanomachines are used in the ''Film/IRobot'' movie to "execute" problem robots.
* In the remake of ''Film/TheDayTheEarthStoodStill2008'' nano-insects ([[GreyGoo grey-goo]] style) [[spoiler: KillAllHumans]].
* ''Film/StarTrekFirstContact'' was the first time the Borg were shown using nanotech as an assimilation tool (see below under Live Action TV).
* The MacGuffin in ''Film/BallisticEcksVsSever'' is nanotech used as an assassination weapon. Roger Ebert wrote in his review: "A miniaturized assassination robot small enough to slip through the bloodstream would cost how much? Millions? And it is delivered by dart? How is this for an idea: use a poison dart, and spend the surplus on school lunches."
* ''Franchise/TransformersFilmSeries'' - According to [[AllThereInTheManual The Official Movie Guide]], Protoforms are made up of densely packed nanomachines. This is the semi-official HandWave for any transformation "cheats" in the films and where, for example, the rubber for Optimus' tires comes from.
* ''Film/GIJoeTheRiseOfCobra'' features the nanites, originally created for medical intents and later weaponized (sometimes ''with medical intents'', for creating SuperSoldier EliteMooks who had a minor HealingFactor and [[BrainwashedAndCrazy parts of their brains destroyed to become fearless]]). And seems like [[http://gijoe.wikia.com/wiki/Nanomites they already existed]] in a GIJoe comic.
* One of the plots in the unproduced ''ComicBook/PlasticMan'' movie explained the technology which gave the titular character's powers.[[spoiler: It involves the use of a experimental chemical liquid that rubberized anything that comes in contact with... But to stabilize the transformation, the test subject has to have a nanomachine (inside its body) as a catalyst to render the liquid product safe in its organism. If the nanomachine isn't used in the process, the liquid continues to rubberize the subject until it decomposes from the liquid's grey goo attributes. According to the script's text, it described the nanomachine that it has the shape of a snowflake]]
* What the major antagonists are made up of in ''Film/Ben10AlienSwarm''. An interesting thing is that they're inert initially but [[spoiler: this is a ploy by the hive queen to keep the heroes guessing while she prepares an invasion.]]
* A major part of Caster's plan in ''Film/{{Transcendence}}''.
* In the movie ''Bombshell'', a kidnapped scientist gets his kidney removed and replaced with a sack of protein, which is slowly being turned into a bomb by the nano machines he was developing.

* Pretty much the reason a [[Manhua/SchoolShock Vanguard]] is a [[SuperSoldier superior fighter]] against… soldiers, tanks, spider tanks and helicopters: Somehow, they make them superstrong, fast, agile etc.. They are also, however, harmful to the body, which is why Vanguards of the newer generations are euthanized after a certain period of time, being a military asset and damn expensive. A bunch of little machines pushing you to your limits, possibly straining the immune system, wearing you down… yep, sounds like {{Deconstruction}}.

* Nanobots are the subject of the appropriately-titled Music/TheyMightBeGiants song [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin "Nanobots".]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/MagicTheGathering'', of all things. The [[AssimilationPlot phyrexian]] "glistening oil" was heavily implied to be made from nanomachines, and so was the black cloud Yawgmoth manifested as.
** Flowstone, the rocklike substance that made up most of the artificial world of Rath in ''MagicTheGathering'', is made of DungeonPunk-style nanomachines that can be controlled by the mind, usually by Rath's ruler, the evincar. It can be shaped into semi-sentient beasts or unleashed as a viscous tidal wave. Flowstone is not self-replicating, though; it was produced in a factory in the now-destroyed stronghold, the evincar's fortress at the center of the plane.
* ''TabletopGame/{{Cyberpunk}} 2020'' has a variety of nanotech, to go along with its various cyberware. Things get more interesting in ''Cybergeneration'', its sequel. ''Cybergeneration'' introduces the 'Carbon Plague,' a nanite-based disease of uncertain origin. (How uncertain? The writers [[LyingCreator intentionally made incompatible statements to fans]]). At first, the Carbon Plague horrifically deforms and kills people, but later, [[OnlyFatalToAdults kids]], then adults, start to survive. Some of the kids aren't quite the same after, now possessing one of several super-powers; morphing limbs, wireless net-hacking, electrical blasts, pseudo-telepathy (via brainwave scanning), matter manipulation, or whatever power a GameMaster can figure out a way to justify with the little [[{{Unobtainium}} hexite]]-manufacturing and manipulating nanobots that is the Carbon Plague.
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}'' tech level progression is explicitly based on the idea that nanotechnology will take off between [=TL9 and TL10.=]
* Averted in ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'' except as an occasional {{Macguffin}}. Sourcebooks explicitly state that this was done to [[RuleOfCool protect their system]].
* Eden Games' ''TabletopGame/ConspiracyX'' supplement ''Atlantis Rising''. The Atlanteans (immortal aliens) use nanotechnology for everything, including altering themselves.
* Ubiquitous in ''TabletopGame/EclipsePhase'', [[MatterReplicator Nanofabricators]] are used to produce most goods, nanoware (most healing medichines) are an entire category of implants, and non-self-replicating nanoswarms are used for a variety of purposes. The TITANS also made frequent use of sentient GreyGoo.
* Surprisingly not used in [[ExaggeratedTrope an overblown]] or [[DarkerAndEdgier incredibly dark]] play on this trope, the usage of nanobots in ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' isn't really used outside of the tabletop [=RPGs=], and it only comes in the form of the Autosanguine/Black Blood implant, which injects nanobots into the bloodstream and allow someone to heal quite quickly, though it can't gloss over lost limbs or permanent scarring.
** ''Actually'', the trope in play might just have gotten ugly. Formerly the method of choice in [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt Exterminatus]], virus bombs release a virus that rapidly spreads over a planet, breaking down every last bit of living or dead organic matter into a combustible organic gruel. How it works is almost always backed up by HollywoodScience, but [[DependingOnTheAuthor one or two sources]] have taken a more logical take on the weapon, and implied that it actually delivers a payload of voracious nanobots [[GreyGoo to do their thing]].
** Some of the novels featured a [[LivingWeapon weaponized]] nanotech swarm from the Dark Age of Technology called the Bloodtide which started out as multiple individual intellects before merging into a single mind. This being 40K, it got possessed by a daemon and went around forcing the blood out of people's bodies.
* Nanotechnology is uncommon but exists in ''TabletopGame/{{Shadowrun}}'', or at least it did in Fourth Edition; most nanotech-built structures inexplicably collapsed at the end of Fourth Edition's metaplot, from guns to aircraft to entire office towers.
* By the time of the Ninth Age shown in ''TabletopGame/{{Numenera}}'', nanotechnology has essentially integrated into every aspect of the world and become as ubiquitous as microbes; this is part of the reasoning behind how the world's scientifically-powered pseudo-wizards, Nanos, can do their thing - their "spells" just reprogram or reactivate the nanites in the surrounding area to seemingly-miraculous results.
** The setting even includes a pseudo-GreyGoo phenomenon called the Iron Wind, in which a wave of malfunctioning nanobots swarms through an area, reconfiguring everything it encounters, with generally-fatal results on living creatures.
* In ''TabletopGame/RocketAge'' the Ancient Martians had access to nanotechnology. Succession, an utterly undetectable poison created by them, is in fact a nanobot infection.
* Given ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'s'' dabbling with ScienceFantasy elements, nanotechnology pops up in many forms. Perhaps the most peculiar is the nanite bloodline -- sorcerers who developed their inherent magic as a result of nanotech influencing their conception and inhabiting their bodies (culminating in you becoming a nanite swarm while retaining your personality and, most of the time, appearance).

* ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'': [[IncrediblyLamePun very small]] subversion, the inhabitants of [[spoiler:Mata Nui]] can be considered this. Given that [[spoiler:Mata Nui]] is a 40,000 foot tall HumongousMecha, the inhabitants would be like nanobots to him. Also, in a more literal sense, the microscopic Rahi, Protodites, could be seen as nanobots. Zaktan's body is entirely composed of them after a unfortunate encounter with the Shadowed One.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* Nanomachines have been mentioned on various occasions in ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'', and several {{Story Arc}}s have featured them heavily.
* ''[[http://www.littlelevers.com/Angels/ Angels and Aliens]]'' is based on a secret group of humans given nanotechnology-based abilities such as speed, strength and healing by mysterious aliens. Drawbacks include rapid depletion of energy and oxygen while using the abilities, and the one-size-fits-all female template for the transformed humans - even if the recipient was [[GenderBender originally male.]]
* ''Webcomic/AlienDice'' has healing nanites, one use ones used for repairing a particular injury, after which they deactivate, and ones that provide a permanent HealingFactor, as well as the "relays" which are nanotechinologcal communications devices which implant themselves in your brain, they basically function as a form of machine assisted telepathy.
* Gavia from ''Webcomic/AliceGrove'' uses nanotechnology that lets her, among other things, levitate and create force fields.
* Both used and subverted in ''Triquetra Cats'', nanites are a miracle cure for most any medical condition however each use increases your chances of contracting a disease called NCDS (nanite cellular disintegration syndrome) where the nanite user's cells can no longer support themselves and break down.
* Most of the advanced Martian technology in ''Webcomic/AMiracleOfScience'' is based on nanites.
* Similarly, much of Earth's technological superiority over New Abilene in ''Webcomic/AfterlifeBlues'' is based on nanotech.
* Featured prominently in the ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'' StoryArc [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=000101 "Kiki's Virus,"]] where nanobots turn into a deadly virus thanks to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Year_2000_problem Y2K.]] Nanotechnology is also used by Dr. Crabtree for more outlandish, {{shapeshift|er}}ing purposes.
* In the ''Webcomic/BladeOfToshubi'' a nano-virus was used in World War IV to rid the Earth's surface of Humans & is believed to have caused the mutation of animals to a sentient, humanoid form.
* At least two types of nanomachines showed up during the ''Webcomic/CrossoverWars'', mini-gnomes from ''Webcomic/MagicalMisfits'' were sent to the Evil Overlords headquarters to sabotage things and nanite versions of ''Webcomic/{{Mindmistress}}'' were left there to monitor things.
* In ''[[Webcomic/UmlautHouse Umlaut House 2]]'', nanites first appear when [[MadScientist Sissy]] steals some assemblers from [[MadScientist Dr. Lyse]] to build her fortress. Later it seems that nanotech is used for home replicators and when Peggy Seus asks the Dragon what it is it tells her to "ask Dr. Lyse about foglets". [[spoiler: And now it seems that Lyse has replaced every cell in his body with foglets and the Dragon tried to take over his body.]]
* There is of course an ''Webcomic/{{xkcd}}'' [[http://xkcd.com/865/ about this.]]
* Though they don't play a large part in the plot, [[http://www.commanderkitty.com/2012/01/01/seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time/ nanomachines are brought up]] in ''WebComic/CommanderKitty'' as the means of [[CloningBlues turning a freshly made clone]] [[UnwillingRoboticisation into a "perfect" android]].
* Averted in ''Webcomic/{{Freefall}}''. Mark [[AllThereInTheManual has said several times]] that he avoids using nanomachines because it's become an equivalent to magic.
* ''Webcomic/UseSwordOnMonster'' features {{Magitek}} nanites called thaumites. In the arc they're introduced they've been hijacked by the Pax Ferus group to run wild.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Nanotech is a big part of everyday life in ''OrionsArm'', sometimes to the extent of replacing all natural microbes in an environment. One thing it's not very good for is combat, unless the group using it has the element of surprise.
* Diamond, a PoweredArmor heroine from the ''Roleplay/GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' uses as a means of situational adaptiveness. Her armor (which is thinly plated diamond over a liquid layer of nanites) can be redesigned and rebuilt in seconds, depending on the precise function she needs from the armor.
* In the ''Roleplay/LeagueOfIntergalacticCosmicChampions'' the heroes fought an AI that used nanites & a minor villain from the future had nanonanotechnology, amongst other uses.
* ''Literature/TheJournalEntries'' seem to use nanotechnology mostly for medical purposes. Pendorians owe their enhanced health and immortality to being, effectively, nanotech cyborgs, but don't exhibit much in the way of actual 'superpowers'; they're mostly depicted as regular folks with an occasionally odd-seeming outlook on things and seriously extended lifespans.
* Sam Everheart is walking around in the WhateleyUniverse because Sam interrupted an attempt to steal a nanotechnology experiment and ended up getting the nanotech, which then did a whole-body alteration. Luckily, Sam survived it.
* The ''Literature/ChaosTimeline'' has a lot of them in the last years.
* In Roleplay/WeAreOurAvatars, Yasmin, Izzy and anyone Izzy gives nanomachines to has a HealingFactor that comes from said nanomachines.
* [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-204 SCP-204-1]] from the ''Wiki/SCPFoundation'' is a swarm of [[EatingMachine carnivorous]] nanobots that seeks out a human child to act as it's GuardianEntity. Although it turns the child into an [[EnfantTerrible aggressive sociopath]] to put into danger so it has a means of gaining food.
* In Literature/WorldDominationInRetrospect, the VillainProtagonist Psycho Gecko has nanites that allow him to heal from anything up to and possibly including death, as well as change his phenotype and, if necessary, go GreyGoo on his enemies.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Nanotechnology, while not able to give people super powers and destroy the planet, still has some very promising prospective applications. [[AwesomeButImpractical None of these are practical]] ''[[TechnologyMarchesOn yet]]'', but someday we hope they will.
** It's a common mistake to conflate nano''machines'' with nano''technology''. While nanomachines are not yet practical, nanotechnology has been in common use for a long time now. For example, [=CDs=] use pits around 100nm deep for storing data, while the transistors in microchips are now as small as 22nm and have been sub-100nm since 2002.
** Nanofactories: A small, printer-sized device which isn't limited to shooting ink onto paper ([[MundaneUtility though it could if you want it to]]). If you have the raw material for it, you could print out entire electronic integrated circuits or other complex things.
** Nanomaterials: Super strong, very tough, and incredibly light, carbon nanomaterials. They are the FlyingBrick of materials, in a sense. Variants include nanotubes, nanobuds, graphene sheets, etc.
** Nanomedicine: While we have no idea how to make ourselves immortal, superpowered badasses yet, doctors hope nanotechnology has the promise of eventually being able to cure the common cold. And HIV. And Cancer. The tricky part is actually getting the nanites to know what they should attack. This is being worked on mighty well. Nanites engineered to precisely exploit abnormally swollen pores in cancer tissue are in development. Ultra-tiny nanotube-based radio devices are also in development, which would allow for ''remote-controlled'' nanites, but those are somewhat farther away.
** Non-Newtonian liquid suspensions: Basically, funny-shaped particles made by nanoengineering, floating in thick oil. Flexible when subjected to the force of human muscles, but turn ultra-rigid when compressed by something faster. Like a bullet. Body armor that can stop a rifle round and also allows one to do crunches like it wasn't there. It's basically a man-made enhancement of the forces that allow [[http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=720f7702c5ab116120e0&page=1&viewtype=&category= John Tickle to walk on custard.]]
* The self replication thing commonly associated with nanobots is being researched too with some success, though generally the better a nanobot is at self replicating, the worse it is at doing anything other than that. The reason why self replicating is so crucial is because nanobots are really tiny, so you need to build a lot of them to do just about anything on the scale required by humans. And because you need so many, the cost of each nanobot has to be tiny. To give an example, say you use nanobots to replace red blood cells. A healthy human male has 4-6 million cells per ''drop'' of blood. If your nanobots cost even one penny each, then just replacing that one drop costs at least $40,000.
** Though replacement wouldn't really be necessary if that one drop of nanobots could operate/last for a longer period of time, quantity would still be an issue but things would be more manageable this way.
* If you think about it, nanomachines are actually much OlderThanTheyThink, since proteins are essentially naturally occurring nanomachines. They are quite small, and they can accomplish functions like [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enzyme facilitating chemical reactions]], [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Na-K-ATPase_pump pumping substances across barriers,]] and when working together can even [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Actomyosin cause macro-scale movement]] of objects.[[note]]Without nanomachines, you wouldn't have been able to open this note. Reward them with a cup of a xanthine alkaloid. Preferably coffee.[[/note]]
** Monoclonal antibodies ''already'' meet most of the criteria for medical nanomachines. Cultivate some that adhere to tumors, stick a radioactive isotope on each one, and turn 'em loose in the body to hunt down their prey like itty bitty Terminators.
** Another impressive example of an existing natural nanomachine is ATP synthase, which makes both the electric motor[[note]]specifically, a proton-motive electrostatic motor, complete with armature and stator[[/note]] ''and'' the reciprocating engine.[[note]]The ATP-producing end is basically a 3-cylinder radial engine.[[/note]]
** Another remarkable example of a natural nanomachine capable of manufacturing stuff is a Ribosome. These are the things that actually assemble proteins according to their encoding in DNA/RNA and are a vital component of all natural replicators such as bacteria or eukaryotic cells. They self-assemble from their component proteins, so they can trivially replicate themselves. They're also hackable; viruses propagate by injecting their own DNA or RNA into cells, and awaiting the ribosome-based production line to unwittingly start making copies.
** Given these examples the Cell in a biological system is a complete nanite in the classical sense. Able to consume external resources, duplicate seemingly endlessly, massive data storage (via DNA), the ability to manufacture anything on its to do list etc. Some of the closest stuff to grey goo is bacterium while most large multicelluar organisms (us for example) are large nanite colonies with hundreds of different types of nanite working in harmony from a single instruction set.
* This video, depicting [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PYxBy_Sz3Wc claytronics]]. This is just a simulation, but it is running off actual software. Using a sort of nanobot programming language, a CAD file gets read in, and the nanobots reshape themselves to match it. The program is supposedly only a couple of pages long. For now this is just software, nothing to worry about -- but the guy who made this video thinks that he will have the hardware to do this in real life within the decade.
* Middle Ages style stained glass contains gold nanoparticles. ClockPunk nanotech ahoy!
* Modifying retroviruses for beneficial uses such as gene therapy can be thought of a bio-nanotechnology. A normal virus injects its DNA into a cell to hijack its protein production. The cell then starts making viruses instead, which repeat the process. A retrovirus however, uses RNA to modify the host cell's DNA permanently. The cell may still undergo normal functions, with the addition of making viruses. This way, when the cell undergoes division, it also creates a cell with the same infected DNA. Biologists even speculate that 5%-8% of modern human DNA is actually retrovirus injections. But in any case, there have been successful trials for using retroviruses in beneficial ways.
** This partly why HIV is so hard to get rid of. By the time it manifests itself as AIDS, countless cells already contain its DNA signature.