News of North Carolina State University's "vomit machine" has been floating around the internet for a couple weeks now, but this is the first time it's been shown in action. Emetophobes should probably stop reading here.
NC State built the creepy-looking puke machine to study how norovirus is spread. Extremely contagious, hardy, and widespread; the norovirus is the leading cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans. In short, it Fucks You Up at both ends and makes for an extremely unpleasant couple of days.
Researchers wanted to know if norovirus could be spread through "aerosolized" vomit (ew). Bad news: it can, and vomiting lets loose a whole lotta virus. As Wired wrote, "in a worst case scenario, a single puking episode aerosolized as many as 13,000 virus particles. And it only takes 20 to 1,300 virus particles to get someone sick." Great.
The fake puke is actually dyed vanilla pudding. Professor Lee-Ann Jaykus tells the BBC her team "would have liked to use chunky vomitus," but had to work within the limitations of the machine. Personally, I'm glad they couldn't.