Checking out future toilets at the CES 2021 online event
The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held every January, is the world’s largest technology trade fair. At this event new products are exhibited and innovative technologies are demonstrated, so it attracts attention from all over the world. Though it was held without any problems in 2020, in 2021, due to the influence of the new coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it was held online.
Despite this, CES remains an important event providing useful information for predicting life in the near future. Though there were countless exhibits of great interest, this time let’s check out the toilets of the future.
TOTO’s “Wellness Toilet” provides a health check
TOTO, a major company developing equipment that circulates water for toilets, bathrooms, and kitchens, participated in CES 2021 with a product concept introduced with the greeting, “Hello, I’m your Wellness Partner”. The company announced the “Wellness Toilet” as their new initiative, while emphasizing the Covid-19 countermeasures of non-contact and cleanliness which are recently of high concern.
According to TOTO, the Wellness Toilet is a system that checks the health condition of people who use the toilet. There is no need to attach a special inspection appliance; when simply sitting and using the toilet as usual, your physical condition is scanned, and inspections can be done on a daily basis without your being aware of it. Test results can then be checked on a smartphone app, and advice received on lifestyle improvements.
Just like the Apple Watch smart watch, perhaps the Wellness Toilet is the type of device that will measure your heart rate, blood oxygen levels, blood sugar, and detect any signs of danger. However, in the case of a toilet, the skin and the toilet seat come into contact with each other over a wider area, and the waste matter excreted can be examined to provide information from inside the body. For this reason, TOTO claims that the toilet has more potential than wearable devices and is the optimal device and space for realizing a healthy life.
Nevertheless, an actual Wellness Toilet product does not yet exist. TOTO has only announced the idea of a toilet used for health management, and its intention to develop it in cooperation with start-up companies and research institutes around the world.
Predicting the features of the Wellness Toilet
Intelligence Toilet II is a system jointly developed by TOTO with the home building company Daiwa House Industry. Equipped with a variety of sensors, it directly measures the urine temperature (core body temperature) and urinary glucose levels. A woman’s basal body temperature can be calculated from her urine temperature, and both the menstrual period and ovulation date can be predicted. Urinary glucose levels can help in the early detection of diabetes. Moreover, it is fitted with a connected weight scale and blood pressure monitor and so can take measures of both body weight and blood pressure. From body weight, BMI values, Rohrer’s Index for children, and Kaup’s Index for infants can be calculated and used for health management.
Data measured in this way can be checked on Intelligence Toilet II’s display panel, and can also be transferred via LAN to a PC and managed with dedicated software. Recording changes in the body over the long term, is likely to lead to better health management, disease prevention and the early treatment of health problems.
Intelligence Toilet II was released over 10 years ago, so if marketed with current technology, it would no doubt be compatible with cloud computing and smartphones and be yet more multifunctional. By linking up with smart watches and the like it could conceivably become even easier to ;use.
If TOTO actually produces a Wellness Toilet, the toilet of the future could be a vital part of good health management.