Norovirus, the infectious stomach bug that causes severe nausea and diarrhea — and is the scourge of cruise-ship passengers everywhere — is a very tricky virus to study. …

To the rescue comes Vomiting Larry, a robot that simulates one of the more disgusting symptoms of norovirus. With his fine imitation of a college frat boy, Larry is helping his creators at the British Health and Safety Laboratory study the spread of the virus.

During a “projectile episode,” as researchers daintily call it, the virus can spread up to 10 feet (3 meters) when an infected person throws up, according to Bill Marler, an attorney and an infectious illness specialist, on his Marler Blog.