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back to article Brit boffins build projectile-vomiting robot to kill norovirus

Bioboffins at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Derbyshire, UK, have developed a robot that can projectile vomit on command as a tool for studying the spread of the highly infectious norovirus. Reuters reports that the hyperemetic droid has been dubbed "Vomiting Larry" by its creator, researcher Catherine Makison, who …

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Coffee/keyboard

head movement

They don't seem to have taken into account the head movement that usually accompanies vomiting - straight out, followed by a downward arcing spew, ending at the feet. Also, what about consistency, watery or chunky? How can we take this research seriously? Keyboard for, well, you know.

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Pint

It's but one more facet of the British stiff upper lip

Rude colonials may well "chunder" or "call ruth on the technicolour phone", brash Yankees might jitterbug about as if to call attention to their plight, benighted natives lacking even the rudiments of etiquette may even make noises when so afflicted. That's all as maybe; under such circumstances that prevent his retiring from the company in good time a true gentleman shall merely avert his face for the duration of the emesis (and his fellows shall of course make no direct reference to the matter, though among especially close comrades it is likely to be acceptable to ask whether the port should be passed past him). Thus this "mechanical Lawrence" is a splendid tool for addressing the most important of questions: how can the Englishman better avoid feeling socially inept when seriously ill?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It's but one more facet of the British stiff upper lip

It's "call Ralph on the porcelain phone" , not "technicolor phone".

You are thinking of doing "the technicolor yawn".

Also:

* make an offering to Ralph at the porcelain altar.

* experience a personal protein spill

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MrT
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Re: It's but one more facet of the British stiff upper lip

...or doing the big spit.

Just wondering if the stiff upper lip has any effect on the pattern of spread...

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Meh

Useful BUT

It would be cheaper to film what goes on in Leeds town centre in the early hours. It would give a new insight to projectile vomiting.

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Re: It's but one more facet of the British stiff upper lip

*Shouting soup

*Coughing carrots

and many more :-)

Plus, only 3m? Have they ever met a 2 yr old? 3m isn't even trying for a 2 yr old. Not to mention the fact that when your kid is that ill the projectiles aren't limited to just the mouth, you get that garden sprinkler meets fire hose effect from multiple outlets.

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WTF?

Re: It's but one more facet of the British stiff upper lip

Sorry?

But we believe that its much cheaper and more fun to find some undergrad lab pukes (pun intended) who we can feed copious amounts of food and beer/alcohol and then get them to blow chunks.

Much cheaper, more realistic and it helps with their college tuition.

Shame on you Brits for not being so economical in your research.

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Re: It's but one more facet of the British stiff upper lip

"Praying to god on the big white telephone"

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Happy

Re: head movement

I think they may have used Little Britain as one of their primary research sources:

- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxRmzq3Azs4

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Facepalm

"Vomiting Larry" huh? Just as Google gets off another monopolies rap

Someone has a twisted sense of humour.

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Re: "Vomiting Larry" huh? Just as Google gets off another monopolies rap

Yes, there IS an app for that (now).

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This is just asking

to feature in a BOFH episode

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wow so this is what my hard fought tax payer money gets spent on. makes me sick.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, if you could have been sick in advance, you could have saved your hard fought tax payer money. Although this may possibly have created a paradox. Better you just stay sick after the event.

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MrT
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Does the robot have...

...optional head accessories?

"Peter! Peter! I need you to hold my ears..."

Who wants chowder?

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Pint

Kebab and Lager?

How much kebab and lager is required to produce sufficient quanity of the vomitus substitute?

And does he only work on Friday and Saturday evenings?

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Anonymous Coward

9.8'?

Amateurs

/Valve

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Coat

Chew it back man that caviar cost a fortune!

How many times to I have to tell lose his lunch Larry that martinis and milk don't mix.

I think it's time for a new coat.

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Thumb Up

Is it all a joke?

I like how the narrator talks as you watch the video, he has a sense if sincerity in his voice that sounds like you actually care about anything he's talking about.

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Larry's got nothing on some of my mates after a Friday night pub crawl.

Volume, frequency, inopportune moments, and that smell.

At least girls are more subtle.

They just pee their pants while they're sitting on your lap. (happened to a mate of mine).

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Larry's got nothing on some of my mates after a Friday night pub crawl.

How much did he have to pay for that?

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Coat

I could have saved them some time..

..if you need vomit, just stop by my place on the average Saturday morning.

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Devil

actually it's driving the porcelain bus

enough said...

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Boffin

Re: actually it's driving the porcelain bus

No -- driving / riding the porcelain bus refers to diarrhoea.

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Check your Profanisaurus

I think you should check your Profanisaurus app.

The "driving" part comes from having your hands around the bowl of the toilet.

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Pint

3 metres? Pah!

Back in the 80's my old mate Jonesy could hurl a belly of diced carrots and Greene King clear across a road, so technology has got some work to do if it wants to catch up with his sterling efforts.

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Childcatcher

Re: 3 metres? Pah!

Alas! There are no entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. Perhaps Jonsey ought to invite a couple of judges over for a pub crawl.

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Terminator

This is what happens, Larry.

I do hope the researchers shout that at the chunk blowing 'bot.

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Flame

Don't read whilst eating

I provided a microlab with tech support for a few years; they used to do regular testing for various things on people's hands and clothing. The lab manager told me that the biggest single cause of transmission of bugs comes from people not washing their hands correctly; particularly after using the toilet.

Many of the contaminents could very easily be passed along from what people were touching with their hands for even the briefest of contact; door handles, stair rails, telephone handsets etc. I got her to test a couple of mice and keyboards; they were absolutely covered in nasties; some of the mice she checked had almost the same bacterial counts as the inside of a toilet bowl. Even after we used some cleaning wipes, we found a high level of contamination.

Flames because that is one way of getting rid of the bugs!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't read whilst eating

Seeing as actual cases of contamination causing illness are pretty rare, maybe the conclusion should be that it doesn't really matter that much?

The research seems to suggest that if someone in the house/workplace is projectile vomiting the bugs are going to get everywhere, regardless of how much you try to avoid them, but in more general circumstances your body manages to keep fine and healthy even with all those billions of bugs on your door handles etc.

Sure, if you've got someone already vulnerable to infections, then worry about it - but for the rest of us?

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Re: Don't read whilst eating

My thought also. Nothing much one can do to avoid infection, so stop worrying. If it's going to happen it's going to happen. From experience of both I'd prefer the vomiting bug to real flu. At least one recovers quickly!

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Re: Don't read whilst eating

I read somewhere that during an average working day in an office environment of 200 people, you will ingest around a litre of other peoples' fart gas, and indirectly have 'touched' 20 penises from touching door handles, themselves touched by thoses neglecting to wash their hands. Having a thing about germs and working in a similar office environment, I stopped reading before the talk of fecal matter.

Having said all that, I have never been ill other than the odd cold from working in offices, so maybe it's all blown out of proportion. Or maybe I have the immune system of a fucking superhuman. Both plausible I think.

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Anonymous Coward

I want one of these!

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"Terminology"

Don't forget:

* praying at the porcelain altar

* losing your lunch

and I suppose that Americans would have called the machine "Barfing Bob".

Curious and probably untrue tale, qualifying easily for "urban legend" status: In my student days, one of the residence halls narrowly avoided (so the story goes) being called a "residence facility". The problem was, of course, that it was on "Burdett Avenue", and included a dining hall. Going to eat at "BAR-H" was OK, but not so much if you had to eat at "BARF".

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Re: "Terminology"

I rather think we Americans would have called it 'up chuck Chuck'.

It's probably best we didn't name it as this solves the question of what really happened to Larry's leisure suit.

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Re: "Terminology"

Liquid laugh

Technicolour yawn.

Shouting for ralph down the great white telephone...

To name a few...

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So not spread by coughing then?

Looks like I'm going to need a new reason to be annoyed by people that don't cover their mouth when they cough.

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Joke

Obligatory Kenny Everett joke

"Got a weak stomach, have we?"

"Whaddya mean, weak stomach? I'm chucking it as far as he is."

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Anonymous Coward

The trick is to projectile vomit between parked cars without breaking stride. Just turn head, yawn and carry on walking.

PS Never a good idea to vom inside a full face bike helmet. Managed to pull up and whip the lid off in time, but forgot about the scarf still around my face...

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FAIL

Cure for cancer?

Nope lets try cure a bug that's makes a few people throw up for a bit.

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Re: Cure for cancer?

Do you have any idea how complicated cancer is? Cancer refers to a group of diseases that are by many things that affect many different parts of the body.

What might cause lung cancer might not cause prostate cancer.

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Thumb Down

Re: Cure for cancer?

What's an unpleasant but passing experience for most of us, is not so for the infirm or the elderly whom this bug can kill. Incidentally one of the vulnerable groups is people being treated for cancer. Chemotherapy weakens one's immune system. (It also often damages one's mucous membranes, which may create an infection pathway). So a way to protect against this bug might well reduce mortality amongst people fighting a treatable cancer.

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First mention of Mister Creosote...

...comes from this side of the pond? Gawd I'm old.

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Mushroom

Re: First mention of Mister Creosote...

Brilliant! They should have called it Mr Creosote.

They could set the robot in action by inserting a waffer-thin mint. See icon for result.

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Windows

The real question is:

Does it have carrot in it????

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Terminator

It starts as a vomiting Larry, but next thing you know it wants your clothes, your boots and your sunglasses.

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Coat

Sir

Just as long as he doesn't want my bike.

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"The dramatic nature of the vomiting episodes produces a lot of aerosolized vomit, much of which is invisible to the naked eye," Goodfellow told Reuters.

But not invisible to the nose...

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Happy

Déjà vu!

So many little bits of this article I read just the other day...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norovirus (etc)

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