British researchers have developed a new vomiting robot, called Vomiting Larry, which they hope will help them study norovirus which has infected more than 880,000 people in the country this year.
The robot was built by Health and Safety Laboratory (HSL) and comes with a metal stomach and a human-like head. The researchers hope to study how contagious the norovirus is when someone infected with the virus throws up. Norovirus causes projectile vomiting and diarrhea within 48 hours in those who are infected and may spread to other people when the infected patient throws up.
Catherine Makison-Booth, who helped develop the robot, said that the vomit particles may spread as much as three meters away from where a person vomits. "Under normal lighting, you can only see the main area where Larry actually vomited. However, under UV light, you can see the particles spread much further than that -- in excess of three meters", she said.