A short article with a brief history of their creation and a short overview of how they function.
Nanite Faeries were a vision of Doctor Calvin Brooks and Doctor Hoshino Akira. They were both working for a small Research and Development team, owned on paper by Nanotech Incorporated, the parent company has to date preferred to remain anonymous.
Two known R&D Scientists, both with degrees and credits and all that. Published papers on nanotechnology and its uses and implications. They were also both on the team that helped develop the first Weaver Nanites that allowed for ground breaking technology like Bone Laces and Muscle Weaves - reconstructing or enhancing said structures of the human body.
They moved to Osaka then and came under the employ of Nanotech Incorporated, one of the leading producers of nanotechnology involving non-human applications. The company produced bio-nanites, used in the regrowth of forests and control of the many bio-viruses currently harming world crops.
Both were put into a very top secret lab and told to make a vessel to hold an AI that would be used for various biological tasks. It had many requirements, heavy dependence on nanotechnology to operate being one, obviously.
Interviews and History states that it was over a drink in a local bar that they came up with the idea of the faeries. Apparently all the waitresses wore some kind of costume of a renaissance fantasy theme, theirs was dressed as a faerie. That's how the story on the street goes - urban legends and all, no evidence has ever come forth to dispute this however the bar in question had never actually been visited by anyone - presumably it has gone out of business or changed themes as these bars are wont to do.
Either way neither Doctor will take sole credit for any part of the design. The Faeries themselves stand from three to six inches tall and are composed entirely of nanotechnology. Their skin, as it were, is of the same type used in Real Doll(tm) technology and as a consequence appears and feels very real. Underneath they house as small nano-factory, much like the ones used in the production Cybernetic Enhancements like the Muscle Weave. Modified slightly to produce all the needed parts for the faeries the nanites also house the AI.
The AI is of an unknown and presumably very specific type - who developed it is left to speculation however. It is a very advanced AI capable of not only independent thought but advanced decision making, the entire skeletal structure of the Faeries seems to house the AI circuitry - in a stroke of genius it has been said - there is also no apparent central processing unit (or CPU) like in many other AI in current use. Presumably the developer was working for the same parent corporation that owns Nanotech Incorporated.
All Faeries have two pair of wings, a larger set that are as long as the Faerie is tall and a smaller set just below that are about a third the length as the first. The wings serve two purposes, first and foremost is for flight and mobility. Secondly, and here is where the two doctors innovation really stands out, they act as solar collectors to give the faeries a continuous feed of low level energy as they move about. This helps power the faeries but does not provide nearly enough to keep each one going on a permanent basis.
To solve the energy problem the doctors gave them a digestive system of sorts. The even smaller nanobots which are there internal organs not only help repair and maintain the faeries but also digest the silicon chips they feed on. They will only eat what they need and will not swallow unneeded materials. Thus any unneeded silicon or other material placed on their diet will be spat out instead of swallowed, an interesting method of secretion of waste materials.
Silicon digestion takes care of the needed raw materials, the energy problem was a bit trickier for them to design however. In the end a small rechargeable battery was developed that the faeries could drink from. They access the energy through their hands, which are placed directly on a pair of contacts and then the charge is transferred from the battery to the faerie as needed.
Uses for the faeries has been from the collector who simply wants to own a faerie (they were last years Pet Of Choice for the Rich and Famous) to those who have specific uses in mind. Botanists have used them extensively to help control insect populations in greenhouses as well as help tend to the plants. They are, at this point, still very expensive to purchase and make - though upkeep is relatively low comparatively. The faeries are just begin ing to break into a widespread market.
There have been a few incidents where the Group For AI Rights have protested their use considering the extremely advanced AI they seem to use though, which may be hampering the companies attempt to get them into widespread use. All faeries are capable of conversation as well as the advanced level of thinking. One wonders if we're going to see this level of AI become prevalent in the near future, perhaps the faeries are a test subject to see what level of acceptance it receives. A discussion on the AI itself will be left for another article however.
As a side note, only female faeries have been seen in use and no faerie has ever been pictured wearing any form of clothing. Being artificial beings however, this has been of small consequence. They are, for all intents and purposes, the classic faerie of western civilization.
The authors opinion, after having met one of the faeries who called itself (herself?) Pixel is that they are very intelligent and perceptive creatures and once again raises the question at what level does an AI become a living creature? I did not get to ask this question as the faerie was instructed to help only with questions regarding their creation, use and development.
NeuTech Magazine, Tokyo Offices.
Copyright ©2000 Gordon Feiner