- "They do more than keep the power off."
- —Jane to Rachel Matheson in The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia
Nanites are countless microscopic artificial machines the size of a virus found in the air, that are capable of two commands, absorb electricity and replicate. The nano-machines originated from the Tower and serves as the location for transmitting commands, with the Nanites' sole purpose of depriving an area or region of electricity. These machines are the cause of the worldwide Blackout. The Nanites however, do more than keep electricity absent as they are also capable of medical applications such as the killing of malignant cells in human beings.
After The Tower
Very little is known about the Nanites, other than they are only a few nanometers across and seems to be an advanced form of nanotechnology. They are said by Rachel Matheson to respond to only two commands: absorb electricity and replicate. The transmission of commands appear to originate from the tower. Despite this, it appears that there are various devices capable of harnessing the Nanites' capabilities without having the aid of the Tower. A small cylindrical device was surgically inserted in Danny's case for medical purposes.
Nanite Artificial Intelligence
The Nanites gained sentience when Aaron Pittman altered their programming at the Tower. They shut down the Tower and began to siphon power away again and even began to take subconscious orders from Aaron by killing those who sought to harm him or those he cared about. Eventually the AI made itself known to Aaron, taking the form of Kevin Donegan, a childhood friend of Aaron, and told him that he was the one who "woke" them up. Aaron told them to leave him alone but later called on them again to kill Calvin Horn and the Patriots that were attacking him. The AI told him that it was confused by Aaron's seemingly contradictory orders and then left.
The Nanites are apparently capable of various other tasks besides the inhibition of electricity. Rachel remarked that they are almost capable of anything. Besides the inhibition of electricity, the use of the Nanites in medical applications appear to be quite potent. From fighting Beth 's cancer to fixing Danny Matheson 's defective lung tissues, and even repairing Rachel's injured leg, both bone and tissue. There are however, as Rachel warns Aaron before implanting a device in her leg, glaring risks when using the Nanites. When using the Nanites for regenerative purposes, there is the possibility of killing the host, and heating the air to the point of combustion.