(LONDON) — In an effort to battle the virulent, vomit-inducing norovirus, British scientists have crafted a real spouting Thomas — a robot that simulates the stomach bug’s most sickening symptom: projectile vomiting.
According to the BBC, Vomiting Thomas, as the booting bot has been called, helps scientists like Professor Ian Goodfellow literally track how quickly somebody suffering from the bug can spread it to others. The short answer to that question is really quickly.
The norovirus has been known to strike dozens of people in close proximity at one time, and just being around somebody throwing up from it is enough to spread the disease to others. Hence the utility of a robot that can puke on command.
“Norovirus is the Ferrari of the virus world,” Goodfellow comments, explaining that in 40 years, a cure for the bug has evaded scientists.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio