Prometheus: The Hammerpede's Origins in
"Dr Who And The Tomb of the Cybermen"'s Cybermats

Leading from
"Doctor Who and The Tomb of the Cybermen"echoes in "Prometheus"?
Prometheus: The Hammerpede

a) Cybermat concept
In Tomb of the Cybermen, smallish dangerous creatures in "Tomb of the Cybermen", small mechanical creatures like oversized silver fish known as cybermats are found to be crawling around the tomb complex that would crawl along and then leap on on the human victim, perhaps up their arm and clamp onto the side of the person's face homing in on the brain waves. The Cybercontroller orders the cybermats to be unleashed and they crawl up through the small shafts in the tomb.

Radio controlled Cybermats
Cybermat from Doctor Who And The Tomb of the Cybermen

b) Remnant of the Egyptian scarab beetle
The idea behind the cybermat was to create a sort of a pet for the Cybermen, and so they were being inspired by the idea of how the Ancient Egyptians venerated the scarab beetles, so they came up with the idea for a small almost rat sized silverfish like creature that developed into the cybermat that home in on human brainwaves and attack, crawling onto the victim and stunning them.

Scarab beetle carving
Egyptian Winged Scarab

Egyptian Winged Scarab relief on wall

Hammerpede concept art

c) Cybermat becomes the Hammerpede
In Prometheus,  When one of the two separated explorers possibly high on pot, reaches out to one of these snake like creatures that perhaps replace the old facehuggers that shows sudden interest in him, it latches onto his arm breaking it, pierces the suit and crawls into the helmet clamping onto the head. However they are not there to implant alien embryos but simply kill for whatever reason.
A smaller version of the cybermat crawling on shoulder of Kaftan
from "Doctor Who And The Tomb of the Cybermen

Hammerpede coiling around Milburn's arm.

Source Quotes
  1. Kit had once visited a scientist who was working on artificial intelligence. The man had built a small box on three wheels, which he described as a blind man inside a room. The room in question was black tape forming the shape of a polygon stuck onto a flat silver board. As the box moved about around the polygon, it would never cross the black lines. The inventor challenged Kit to work out how the machine stayed within the black lines. Kit assumed it was a light sensor underneath the robot. "Inside the robot," Kit wrote in The Quest for Gaia, ' was a small model of the room and a sensor which "felt" the walls of the model room. In other words, the robot had a memory of the outlines of the room and so needed no senses to find its way out. (The Quest for Pedler: The Life & Ideas of Dr Kit Pedler)
  2. This was a mode advanced version of "the tortoise', a cybernetic 'toy' designed and built by the British physiologist William Gray Walter in the 1950s. Walters was a designer of electroencephalography machines which measured brainwaves. The tortoise was about the size and shape of one, and was designed to explore the behaviour of biological organisms, such as goal-seeking and learning from experience. With a scanning photo receptor cell, it would seek out and approach a light source (as a Cybermat would home in on brainwaves). Walters had actually constructed a very simple nervous system. One of these was called Elsir (Light Sensitive), which was demonstated at the Festival of Britain in 1951. It could explore its environment, seek light and guide its wheels towards the light source. Elsie also had a preference between strong and moderate light sources, and would not get too close. It had  movable shell with pressure sensors which closed an electrical circuit if touched, cuasing it to react if it hits a wall or is touched. A later tortoise had its own light source attached and could attract another one, and when they met, they performed a kind of strange dance. In 1950, Gray wrote that his work on tortoises could be adapted for use on a "better self-directing missile."(The Quest for Pedler: The Life & Ideas of Dr Kit Pedler)
  3.  A tortoise isn't by itself, terribly sinister. As Gerry Davis recollected in 1988 to DWB,, they thought of insects: "We thought that the Cybermen would be some sort of ancillary animal thing and we basically wanted something rather horrific that would crawl along and then leap on you and clamp onto the side of your face and home in on your brain waves. We envisaged them like silver fish, with that sort of segmented body and much bigger of course. They didn't end up like silver fish, of course but that was the original concept, and we thought it would be interesting to have the scene where they were all sitting down unaware and then suddenly thing thing starts coming. We also thought that they might be marketed as a children's toy but they don't quite catch on."(The Quest for Pedler: The Life & Ideas of Dr Kit Pedler)
  4. The Cybermen were to have a new leader called the Controller be a more sophisticated , tall and less cumbersome creature. The Egyptians revered Scarab beetles, and so the Cybermen would also have a form of pet, little silver woodlice creatures called Cybermats. According to Victor Pemberton, the Cybermats were entirely Kit's idea. (The Quest for Pedler: The Life & Ideas of Dr Kit Pedler)
  5. Gerry Davis : Tomb of the Cybermen was all very Freudian, with the symbolism of going down into the catacombs. It was an old-fashioned horror story with the breaking of the foetal membranes an added touch. That also gave us more scope with the Cybermats, who were based on silverfish. Although we devised them thinking mainly of the merchandise, they were also pretty horrific, with red eyes and the ability to leap up at you. (

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