It took a lot of design development to come up with an original design for the Harkonnen Spice Harvester. A lot of people have tried their hand at these machines with varying degrees of success. In the end it took a detailed examination of industrial farming machinery (such as the combine harvester common to the American mid-west) and actually working out technically the process by which the machine might actually function to create a convincing vehicle.
The tiny spotter craft are a nod to the fly-like ornithopter design from the Sci-Fi Channel Dune miniseries.
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