From Fluff to Wraiths

Five layers of fluff (magnification X100)

Fluff was developed as a smart, robust packing material by an Arkadelian cyb carbon foundry when their production of millibots started to exceed orders. It consists of a sparse matrix of millibots clinging to each other in layers. It had the ability to mould itself around objects, forming a protective layer that could expand to fill a cavity. It was initially seen as a novelty product with few serious applications that could justify the cost.

In the late 2190s Fisherman developed more sophisticated control algorithms which allowed shape shifting minibots bots to be formed. They are mainly empty space so when light coloured millibots are used, light scatters between them through the matrix causing their shadows to diminish and backlight to filter through. This slightly eerie property led to them being referred to as wraiths. The millibots forming a wraith can pack together to form a "clump" which can expand into one large wraith or multiple smaller ones.

Minibot wraiths (magnification X2)

The extreme flexibility of wraith technology has led to a transformation of the robotics industry, but the principal application of the swarmer inventors has been to transform spindle design. A new generation of spindles is under production that has the whorl almost entirely constructed from fluff. Swarms using these spindles will not just be observers at their destinations, but can reform the wraiths to perform a wide variety of tasks. This has led to an increased interest in landing on interesting planets to perform surface exploration rather than just orbital surveying.

A new generation of high thrust spindles has been developed which are capable of descending into the deep gravity wells of planets. On the surface the whorl wraiths can perform tasks such as building local industrial systems for creating materials, particularly plastics for use in establishing dome-based experimental ecologies.