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Smart Technology For Bathrooms
No longer an unbearable luxury, a smart bathroom can help make you and your family happier and healthier than ever in the following ways:
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You can add as many products as you want, there is no limit When you’re ready, visit this page and start comparing your products Visitors look at a model of a stand-alone toilet at the Reinvented Toilet Expo in Beijing on November 6, 2018. Mark Seifelbein/AP
For the past seven years, the Microsoft CEO-turned-politician has been calling for the development of low-cost, high-efficiency toilets to bring effective sanitation to the world’s poorest regions. At a toilet fair in Beijing in November 2018, he held a glass of human excrement and told the audience: See you at the door of the sanitation revolution.
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But if Gates is excited about new toilets for developing countries, other advocates are calling for bathroom sink replacements around the world.
“Everything is connected and smart these days, but I think the bathroom is an unnecessary area,” says Sameer Berry, a gastroenterologist-in-training in Los Angeles. There haven’t been many inventions for hundreds of years.
Since the 1980s, Japanese companies have been selling high-tech toilets for home use that provide users with soothing music, heated seats and built-in bidets for cleaning. Recently, researchers overseeing the European Union-funded iToilet project began testing devices for the elderly and disabled, motorized toilets that adjust their position based on voice commands and depth sensors that can detect when a person has fallen.
However, several smart toilets are in the works that will go a step further and provide a window into the health of the people using them. At least one Japanese company has already developed a smart toilet for use in hospitals; Toto’s “Flosky” toilet looks like a normal toilet, but is designed to check for abnormalities in urine flow that could signal bladder or prostate problems.
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Microsoft founder Bill Gates delivers a speech during the “Reinvented Toilet Expo” in Beijing on Nov. 6, 2018. Nicolas Asfori/AFP – Getty Images
Berry envisions smart toilets for domestic use at home His dream is an internet-connected toilet that protects health by using cleverly placed sensors and artificial intelligence to analyze waste. Such a toilet can detect early signs of disease and help people manage chronic diseases such as diabetes
“If we were all involved in one toilet, we could get so much data out of it—I think it would be amazing,” says Berry, who is starting a gastroenterology fellowship at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor this year. “The opportunities are truly endless,” he said.
Smart toilets can also provide insights into public health, said Michael Lindenmeier, co-leader of smart sanitation and digital health at the Toilet Board Consortium, a consortium of businesses and nonprofits working to improve sanitation around the world. The Geneva-based nonprofit is working with Pune and the European Space Agency to collect data from smart toilets in public bathrooms, as well as landscape and weather information from satellites. The goal is to give health officials evidence of the disease before it becomes a full-blown disaster, as was the case with the 2014 Ebola epidemic in West Africa.
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“The scientists we work with tell us that we could have predicted this type of explosion if we had been monitoring our toilet flushes,” says Cheryl Hicks, the organization’s executive director.
There is no doubt that human waste contains many clues about our health Many diseases leave traces in urine and stool, including diabetes, infections, kidney disease and cancer.
Signs of trouble can be detected with cameras, chemical analysis or other techniques, experts say. And smart toilets have one major advantage over Fitbits and other wearable health and fitness trackers: Users don’t have to remember to fill or keep them.
“If you’re not superhuman, you’re going to use this toilet,” says Sam Gambhir, director of Stanford’s Canary Center for Early Cancer Detection in Palo Alto, California. “There’s no way around it. You’ll use it like any other toilet, but it’s watching behind the scenes. ”
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One of the first smart toilets was available from Toto in the early 2000s The restroom used to be used for urine samples for sugar and hormone levels, but was eventually closed due to low demand, Bill Strong, president of operations and e-commerce for Toto USA, told NBC News MACH in an email. “However, we are continuously monitoring the market for a strong trend in this area,” Strong said.
In recent years, as people’s appetite for health monitoring devices has grown, there have been signs of growing interest in smart toilets. Google recently received a patent for a toilet that will measure a person’s blood pressure while sitting, along with other health-monitoring bathroom gadgets.
In September 2018, electronics giant Panasonic released a health monitoring toilet in China that tests urine for blood, protein and other key health indicators. The device uses sensors built into the armband to measure a person’s body fat and identify different users by scanning fingerprints.
Like Berry and Gambhir, Vikram Kashyap, founder and CEO of San Francisco startup Toy Lab, believes the time has come for smart toilets. His company is currently testing the country’s “True Low” toilet seat and hopes to bring it to market within a few years. The toilet seat uses optical sensors that can be attached to most existing toilets, says Kashyap. The purpose is to analyze urine and stool for abnormalities in color, consistency, volume, and frequency; Future models will also chemically analyze the waste, Kashyap said.
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Meanwhile, Gambhir and his colleagues are also developing a smart toilet for residential use The device will replace the normal toilet seat and flush handle The underside of the seat will have several sensors, including a camera and a cartridge of paper strips that change color when exposed to various substances in urine, such as blood or sugar. When the motion sensors detect that the person is sitting, the cartridge will slide into the field of view and sample the urine as it travels to the container.
“The experience of using such a toilet will not be disturbed,” said Gambhir. People will just go to the bathroom, flush and go about their day During this time, the toilet will analyze the user’s waste, identify the person using the fingerprint sensor built into the flash handle, and then send the results to the fair or smartphone app. And if the toilet detects a worrisome trend — such as traces of blood in the urine — it will send an alert prompting the user to make an appointment with a doctor.
Gambhir is setting up a clinical trial to test the devices and eventually plans to collect a variety of data, including urine sugar levels, blood, urine flow, presence of bacteria and stool consistency. He and his colleagues have not yet decided how to commercialize the smart toilet, but Gambhir said it will be ready for home use in five to seven years.
Smart toilets present several challenges for those trying to develop and market them, making them reliable and easy to use — and finding a way to connect with consumers who might find such products intrusive.
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“People—especially in the United States—are very shy and embarrassed to talk about their papa,” says Kashyap.
Then there is the issue of privacy “It’s very personal information,” says Berry. “So this technology needs to have a robust security infrastructure to ensure that it’s not data that a hacker, thief or a nosy houseguest can tap into.”
But Lindenmayer believes that consumers are more likely to adopt smart toilets once they realize the benefits they offer. “Sometimes a doctor’s visit provides a relatively fragmented view,” he said
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