Yes, you read that headline correctly. In the near future, toilets will examine your stool to determine if you’re healthy or not – and then recommend improvements via a mobile app. That’s what TOTO, the world’s largest plumbing manufacturer, is claiming they’ll be able to do.
To be fair, this isn’t the first time your poop can determine your health. Taking a close look at what your bowel movements produce can actually reveal things like signs of infection, digestive issues, or even more serious health problems like cancer. It’s all in the colour, shape and texture of the stool.
In fact, sewage surveillance (yep, the government is looking at our poop) is helping in the response to COVID. According to the NSW Health website, “testing sewage can help provide early warning of an increase in infections in an area, and potentially give an estimate of undetected infections in the community.”
In terms of actual toilets being able to do the hard work themselves, TOTO isn’t actually the first one to do this. Stanford University built a mountable toilet system that can monitor urine and stool, so doctors can monitor your health. And the best (weirdest?) thing about this specific device – it recognises users by their ‘analprint.’ Yep, it knows which butt belongs to you.
TOTO is offering a whole ass toilet – pun not intended – that goes about its business while you go about yours. The WELLNESS TOILET, according to the one-of-a-kind press release, “uses multiple cutting-edge sensing technologies to support consumers’ wellness by tracking and analysing their mental and physical status.”
It doesn’t specify if, like Stanford, it identifies users by their ‘analprint’, but it does say it comes into “direct contact with individuals’ skin when they are sitting on it,” and then analyses the waste they deposit.
As for how it then gets onto your phone? The recommendations we mean, not anything else. “Every time they take a bathroom break, they will see their current wellness status and receive wellness-improvement recommendations on a dashboard in an app on their smartphones.”
No specific word on exactly when these toilets will be released – the only hint was that it’d be in “the next several years” but if you’re willing to keep an eye out, Harvey Norman stocks the brand.