The Littlest Robot
The basic working unit of nanotechnology is a nanite—a single robot that can be as small as a dozen atoms in length. Nanite is a generic term: Any robot built using this technology, no matter what its purpose, is a nanite. Each one must be constructed and programmed for a specific purpose, and a nanite’s true power lies not in what it can do individually, but what it can be programmed to do in complete synchronization with millions of other nanites that make up a nanocolony.
It is possible for a single item or piece of material to be composed of hundreds or thousands of different types of nanites, just as a human body is composed of a multitude of different types of cells.