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Toto’s “Wellness Toilet” is wonderful. But it’s still just a concept.




How does the toilet sound to automatically provide healthier eating tips or detect early warnings of illness based on poop or pee?

Is it amazing? Creepy? Maybe a little in row A, a little in row B?

Well, everyone is coming. It is not clear when.

One luxury toilet maker just threw a hat into the ring to build the smart toilet of the future: Toto. Japan-based toilet, bidet and cleanliness product manufacturers unveiled a new concept of “wellness toilets” at CES on Monday.

According to the press release, “multiple state-of-the-art sensing technologies” are used to track and analyze a person’s “mental and physical condition” each time they sit in the bathroom. It then sends that data to the app to provide recommendations to the user. Toto’s example is to detect an “unbalanced diet” and suggest other foods. Like salmon.

Your toilet wants to tell you what to do.

If this sounds like it’s shining light on the details, you’re right.

“This is a concept announcement,” said Ryoji Nakamura, head of digital innovation at Toto. “We cannot disclose everything. However, this wellness toilet concept will utilize multiple sensing technologies to detect health-related information such as stress, fitness level, and physical condition. Multiple sensing technologies. Collect health data. “

In a conversation with Mashable, Nakamura also shared that the idea has been under development since 2017. Therefore, this idea is undergoing actual research and development. There is no exact timeline for the release. Nakamura also said that some of the inputs collected were scents and blood flow, but did not provide details on how to actually make those measurements. Also, there is no fixed schedule for when this toilet concept will be realized.

The level of detail did not surprise others in the smart toilet space.

“The real challenge facing the entire region is how to bring the technology that exists in academic laboratories into the toilet environment so that people can provide the same type or sufficient data at the price possible. Joshua Kuhn, a professor at the University of Wisconsin who studied collecting insights into metabolism from excrement, said: “I don’t know if that was the real challenge and Toto found a way to solve it. Hmm.”

Toto is not the only one making that effort. Several academic groups and companies are working on the analysis of ~ raw data ~ created in the bathroom.

A group at Stanford University was talked about last year when it unveiled a technology to collect health insights from human feces using a camera that recognizes individual feces. Last year, Kuhn published a study showing what he could learn about his health from monitoring his (and his colleague’s) urine.

Seed, a probiotic and gastrointestinal health company, is working with researchers at AI company Auggi to create a cloud-sourced stool database to better understand stool analysis. In addition, startup Toi Labs is working on additional technology to analyze and provide data on poop, and the company has created its own poop database. Over the years, other companies have manufactured very expensive “smart toilets” that are neither very viable nor smart (they mainly use environmental statistics, such as the amount of water they use. Provided information about).

In addition to calculating the cost of installing a minilab in the toilet, companies that want to offer a viable product will have to undergo years of testing. It takes time and money.

“There’s a lot of evidence that needs to be presented in order for the new modality of toilet analysis to be truly credible,” said Vik Kashyap, founder of ToiLabs. “Creating a toilet of the future is not as easy as it sounds.”

It doesn’t mean it’s impossible. “It’s not a science fiction novel,” Kuhn said, giving advice on diet and exercise based on night soil monitoring. The challenge is to install all the tools to do that in the toilet.

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