Researchers Created A Machine That Pukes… For Science, Of Course

It’s a study that’s going viral… in every sense.

Researchers at North Carolina State University and Wake Forest University have created a machine that vomits to help show how norovirus spreads.

That’s a fast-moving infection known for causing vomiting and diarrhea, and which can be severe and even deadly.

The new device is designed to help researchers better understand how the infection spreads when someone throws up. More importantly, the vomit machine shows how much of the virus becomes aerosolized and moves through the air, landing on nearby people and surfaces.

The puking apparatus features a small face (about one-quarter the size of a normal human face) inside a plexiglass box connected to a simulated esophagus and stomach.

As Grace Tung-Thompson, a recent Ph.D. graduate fromNorth Carolina State University and lead author of the study demonstrates in the video above, a turn of a lever causes the little face to puke, with researchers able to control the volume, viscosity and pressure to simulate different degrees of hurling.

Instead of real vomit, the researchers used vanilla Jell-O in their study. And instead of actual norovirus, they used a similar virus called bacteriophage MS2 that doesn’t cause illness.

According to the study, published in the journal PLOS One, just 0.02 percent of the virus becomes aerosolized — but that’s more than enough to spread the disease and make people sick.

“When one person vomits, the aerosolized virus particles can get into another person’s mouth and, if swallowed, can lead to infection,” Lee-Ann Jaykus, a professor of food, bioprocessing and nutrition sciences at NC State and co-author of the study said in a news release.

“[T]hose airborne particles could also land on nearby surfaces like tables and door handles, —> Read More