Scientists create ‘vomit machine’ robot to study norovirus transmission
Scientists at North Carolina State University have created a robot “vomit machine” that mimics the action of human regurgitation.
According to the BBC, researchers are hoping to learn more about the spread of norovirus, the highly contagious stomach illness that the British call “winter vomiting disease.”
Prof. Lee-Ann Jaykus explained to the BBC that “(f)or many years scientists have thought that norovirus is aerosolized during vomiting and that helps in the process of transmitting the disease between people.”
Some scientists call norovirus “the Ferrari of the virus world” because it is one of the most wildly infectious and rapidly spreading viruses known to man. It is ruthlessly efficient at replicating and spreading itself by infecting human beings and making them miserably ill with vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea and other symptoms of gastric distress.
Jaykus said that the scientists studying the virus “would like to have used chunky vomitus” for a more accurate study of spraying, splattering and splashing patterns, but “because of how the machine was designed, we had to use virus of different thickness, but we weren’t able to put little pieces of food into it.”
“We could only put in certain amounts of vomiting, we could only use certain pressures,” she explained. “We had to work within a range.”
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