According to CNET, someone has gone and turned the weirdest-looking fossil of all time into a creepy crawly robot.

Halluc IIx, which is meant to serve as a model for a futuristic, self-driving vehicle, is part of the Hallucigenia Project, which is named for this guy:


Colour reconstruction of Hallucigenia sparsa, a very weird, very ancient animal. (Danielle Dufault)

Here's a bit more about Hallucigenia (the worm, not the robot) from an earlier post on the blog:

Hallucigenia is aptly named: With long spines down its back, seven pairs of clawed legs, and six tentacles gracing its neck, the 500 million year old ocean-floor dweller would have looked like something from a very weird dream.

In fact, the critter is so weird looking that it took researchers years to stop looking at it upside-down. And then it took even more work to determine which side was the head and which was the caboose.

It's hard to imagine someone making the leap from neck-tentacled Cambrian beast to self-driving car, but I guess that's why I don't design robot cars.

"Hallucigenia died off without leaving offspring. However, there is no doubt that the archetypes for organisms today are the result of various experiments," the project's 2004 outline stated. "This project was named Hallucigenia in the hope that the experimental designs can trigger the evolution of new designs and might become the archetype for future vehicles."

Okay, okay. But will it have neck tentacles?

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