BUXTON has been thrust into the global media spotlight – thanks to a projectile-vomiting robot.
The hi-tech machine, affectionately known as Larry, has been created by town scientists who are investigating a violent winter sickness bug.
Larry has been throwing up continuously for weeks at the Health and Safety Laboratory in Harpur Hill to enable experts to track the spread of highly-contagious norovirus germs.
It is hoped the pioneering study will help improve techniques for cleaning the debilitating bug which affects up to a million people in the UK every year.
Developed by microbiologist Cat Mackison-Booth, the robot’s ‘sick’ is blurted out through a makeshift mouth and can fly almost ten feet.
Mrs Mackison-Booth said: “Norovirus is incredibly infectious and incredibly unpleasant.
“Larry is helping us study the spread of norovirus germs and hopefully this experiment will be a good step towards improving infection control in a number of places including hospitals and aeroplanes.”
Larry has made headlines across the world and sparked widespread interest.
He was mentioned during a recent episode of David Letterman’s late-night chat show in America which is in the grip of a norovirus crisis.
Mrs Mackison-Booth joked: “Larry is quite a big deal!”
She added: “It may be quite a quirky experiment but at the same time it’s very important.”
The project has received funding from the Department of Health and the Health and Safety Laboratory.
• To see a video of Larry in action, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=me21QEpg760