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"We'd have most of what we predicted of the conquest of space, if we hadn't ignored parasite control."
- Larry Niven

Immunocules  
  Very small, lightweight objects able to move in three dimensions; they form a protective shield against airborne devices.  

Defend against nanotechnology with nanotechnology! For every threat, there is a counter threat; in this case, the body's method of protecting itself is used as a helpful model.

The impregnable shield didn't work well at the nanolevel; one needed to hack the mean free path. A well-defended [en]clave was surrounded by an aerial buffer zone infested with immunocules - microscopic aerostats designed to seek and destroy invaders. ...If you stared carefully into the fog and focused on a point inches in front of your nose, you could see it sparkling, like so many microscopic searchlights, as the immunocules swept space with lidar beams. Lidar was like radar except that it used the smaller wavelengths that happened to be visible to the human eye.
From The Diamond Age, by Neal Stephenson.
Published by Bantam Books in 1995
Additional resources -

Be sure to check out lidar a real technology that is used to great advantage in the book.

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