Nanotrees are popular for their ease of installation. All that is needed for infrastructure is a patch of ground with a tree, like a garden, and a conversion package. This package contains a single-use hypodermic containing 50 cc of cytobots in solution and an external control unit that consists of a molecular memory module. The cytobots are injected into a tree and thereafter they proceed to convert the dead or heartwood of the tree's trunk and larger branches into a bionanocomputer. They use their host's blood supply for their own energy needs Nanotrees use the tree's sap as a ready-made energy/material transport system.
The cytobots also carry out additional changes to the tree to enhance the bionanocomputer's operations;
- Solar collecting pseudosurfaces are deposited on some of the tree's leaves to increase the tree's efficiency at converting light into a usable form of energy.
- Vertical air tubes are hollowed out in the heartwood to provide for cooling. Airflow is by a simple chimney effect. Air inside the tubes raises as it is heated and as it is vented out of holes in the upper parts of the tree it is replaced by cooler air through openings in the lower parts of the tree.
- This cooling system also serves as base for the tree's sensors. Incoming air is sampled for chemicals to give the bionanocomputer a sense of smell/taste. Sensory hairs in the tubes detect sound waves
- A fast acting valve system in upper parts of the tubes can add harmonics to the airflow which gives the tree a voice.
- Some of the leaves are also modified into simple 'eyes.'
In a final modification the cytobots switch over to producing the replicators. Since the Nanotree's computer is (usually) fully programmed, it is capable of producing any tech it has the designs for. The software suite that activates a nanotree comes ready for download in the molecular memory module control unit as a perfectly friendly data ghost (though some containt AIs). However this computer is (usually) limited by the information pathways of the tree's sensory system, and has no direct connection to the Infosphere, and must develop an interdependent relationship with those it serves as it gets all it information about the outside world from its interactions with those beings. For that reason nanotrees have become famous for what is perceived as their love of a good conversation.
The development of the tree's replicators is progressive and staged and different products will ultimately be provided by different parts of the tree. The first items the nanotree will be able to produce will be the fruit the tree already grows, but as the nanotree gains control and experience it will produce new kinds of "fruit." At first it will simply change the taste of its fruit just to be different but later it will also change the fruit's shape, texture and chemical make up and can even provide equivalents to animal products. Often the nanotree, sensing a problem in a user's health, will load up its fruit with pharmaceuticals or medical nano. Generally speaking, any "fruit" a nanotree produces from its branches can be thought as a human consumable or a food item, but for the sake of safety the pharmaceutical-fruit is kept out of reach in the higher branches and only lowered when needed. For non-consumables the nanotree has to develop its second stage matter compilers.
In this stage the nanotree forms blisters on the ground, as an outgrowth of the tree's root system. These blisters are really half buried spheres filled with water and free swimming microbots. These assemblers are grown within smaller chambers around the bottom of these spheres, as are the molecular sub-assemblies they work to put together. In larger blisters the free swimming microbots are assisted by bushbot 'branches' that hold and position the bigger pieces. If a nanotree gets large and mature enough some of these blisters can become big enough for a human to climb into and through use of these exo-wombs a nanotree is capable of augmenting a client if he or she wishes. It is suffciently sophisticated to produce human seeming remotes for clients, if that is required. Of course the blisters can also produce them for the it's own use.
In the third stage of matter compiler development the nanotree can deploy remotes to assemble items too large to be grown inside a blister. A nanotree is fully capable of reproducing the genetic templates for a builder bots, construction remotes or a larger replicator to build a client any item e has room for and time for.
A nanotree is still limited by the energy and resources its leaves and root system can collect and will thus take much longer to produce items than a system connected to a feedstock utility. To mitigate this problem somewhat the nanotree will try to anticipate its client's needs. A mature nanotree can have a hundred production sites in its branches and dozens on the ground so there is little chance it won't have a request ready and waiting when asked for it.
However a nanotree is more than a straightforward wish-granter like a genie, a nanotree is a problem solver. You don't always get what you want from a nanotree but it always give you what you need. Nanotrees have become famous for what is perceived as their love of a good conversation and are renowned for giving great advice and sometimes that is what is truly needed.
However, perhaps the best reason nanotrees have become so wide spread is their ability to make copies of themselves. The nanotree's computer (or resident AI) can backup itself by producing a "fruit" of computronium at the end of a sprig and place a compressed copy of its mind in it. A client can then take this small branch as a cutting and graft it to another tree. This process only works if the fruit stays attached to the sprig because only the copied mind is stored in the fruit. It's the wood of the branch that holds the cytobots, in solution in its sap.
Tech Level: Nanotech 8, Biotech 8