Smart toilet monitors for signs of disease Temporary JobJan 18th, 2022 at 06:10 Engineering Baia Sprie 57 views
It’s a smart toilet. But not the kind that lifts its own lid in preparation for use; this toilet is fitted with technology that can detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including those of some cancers, such as colorectal or urologic cancers. The device could be particularly appealing to individuals who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions, such as irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer or kidney failure, and want to keep on top of their health.
“Our concept dates back well over 15 years,” said Gambhir, professor and chair of radiology. “When I’d bring it up, people would sort of laugh because it seemed like an interesting idea, but also a bit odd.” With a pilot study of 21 participants now completed, Gambhir and his team have made their vision of a precision health-focused smart toilet seat a reality.Although the idea may take some getting used to, Gambhir, who holds the Virginia and D.K. Ludwig Professorship for Clinical Investigation in Cancer Research, envisions the instant heat smart toilet as part of the average home bathroom. In facilitating that broad adaption, Gambhir designed the “smart” aspect as an add-on — a piece of technology that’s readily integrated into any old porcelain bowl. “It’s sort of like buying a bidet add-on that can be mounted right into your existing toilet,” he said. “And like a bidet, it has little extensions that carry out different purposes.”One of the most important aspects of the tankless smart toilet may well be one of the most surprising — and perhaps unnerving: It has a built-in identification system. “The whole point is to provide precise, individualized health feedback, so we needed to make sure the toilet could discern between users,” Gambhir said. “To do so, we made a flush lever that reads fingerprints.” The team realized, however, that fingerprints aren’t quite foolproof. What if one person uses the toilet, but someone else flushes it? Or what if the toilet is of the auto-flush variety?
The new technology will also allow Toto to stay in touch with its customers after selling them toilets and other household fixtures. The Wellness Toilet, if it hits the market in a few years as the company hopes, could help Toto reinvent its business model.
One possibility is new services that charge ongoing fees for analyzing data collected from square smart toilet. The company could suggest healthy meal plans and offer health advice. Toto might also team up with research institutes and medical institutions to provide personalized disease-prevention services.