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He'll do the puking so you can do the partying

News.Com.Au
Saturday, January 05, 2013

LARRY robot is probably the ultimate labour saving device: He does the puking so we can do the partying.

British boffins have enslaved an anatomically correct robot (at least when it comes to the digestive and throat reflex systems) to a lifetime of projectile vomiting — all in the name of science.

And it's serious stuff.

Norovirus — commonly called gastro — appears to be spreading.

The past year has seen more than the usual number of cases of chronic gastroenteritis in Britain and Australia.

The virus generally only lays its victims low for two or three days with no lasting effect. But, for the very young and the elderly, it can pose serious problems.

And if one person gets the virus, they — on average — pass it on to seven others.

For the past 40 years, scientists have been trying to understand how the virus spreads so rapidly. They've not made a lot of progress.

Enter Larry.

Professor Ian Goodfellow of Cambrige University told the BBC that once the virus lands on a surface, as few as 18 of the hardy particles can still infect someone up to two weeks later.

So, understanding the mechanics of projectile vomiting can help doctors understand how the virus spreads.

Larry's performance has been ... impressive.

His barfing has shown the norovirus can be projected up to 3m in a violent attack. But it gets worse: chucking-up also produces an ultra-fine spray that can hang suspended in the air - and travel - for a considerable amount of time.

Even flushing the toilet can send norovirus particles airborne, research suggests.

How do we stop it?

At this point it's still good old-fashioned washing of hands with soap and water — and, most importantly, by making sure those with gastro stay at home and away from parties and public places.





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