Posted Monday, Jan. 7, 2013, at 2:05 PM
Humans aren’t the only ones getting sick this season. British researchers have created a projectile-vomiting robot that mimics the symptoms of norovirus, the violent illness that afflicts 21 million Americans every year.
Severe vomiting and diarrhea associated with the virus send 70,000 people to the hospital every year, and the average infected person spreads the illness to seven other people. Researchers created the projectile robot to test how far the dangerous contagion spreads every time someone throws up.
Dubbed “Vomiting Larry,” the robot is filled with fluorescent liquid and water that it spews through a makeshift mouth with a pump. With UV lighting, researchers determined that Larry sent particles flying up to 10 feet forward.
The findings may help design better ways to combat the spread of norovirus. The hardy germ resists most cleaning products and infects those exposed much more easily than the flu.