Norovirus is a particularly nasty virus that causes severe gastrointestinal upset. It's famous for turning cruises into nightmares. It's a tough little number that spreads easily and is hard to kill. To study it, you can't just ask a bunch of sick people to pop down to the lab and vomit on demand. That's where a robot nicknamed Vomiting Larry comes in.
Larry is a one-robot upchucking machine in residence at the Health & Safety Laboratory in Buxton, U.K. He's an anatomically correct model and his favorite hobby is barfing for science. He helps scientists determine how far the norovirus can spread.
Unlike real people, Larry doesn't have to chew his own food. He gets a vomit substitute with fluorescent markers that makes it easier to track the spread, right down to the smallest splash. What Larry has taught us is that droplets can spread out nearly 10 feet from the source. Yuck.
The BBC News has kindly made a video of Larry in action available for us to ponder. If the inevitable robot revolt ever gets off the ground, I expect Larry to be right at the forefront, grossing us out. In the meantime, he's using his powers for good, not evil.