It seems everything is getting smarter, from our phones to our appliances. And now a Japanese firm is pioneering smart technology for the toilet.
Japan is well-known for having some of the most hi-tech toilets in the world. Sometimes called a washlet in Japan, the toilet has lots of additional features like blow drying, seat heating, massage, water jets, automatic lid opening and flushing.
This is pretty surprising when you consider that old-style Japanese toilets consist of a type of squat-type hole in the ground, which is still fairly common in public conveniences.
Now Lixil has revealed its most advanced model to date – and it can all be controlled from your smartphone.
Going on sale in Spring 2013, the app will be available for selected Android handsets, which will work with three of Lixil’s new range of lavatories. An iOS version is also under development.
The toilets use Bluetooth to communicate with the mobile phone app, controlling the toilet’s functions and even playing music through speakers which are built-in to its base – perfect for any embarrassing noises.
Features include remotely flushing and lifting the toilet seat so you don’t need to touch the toilet. The system can also be used to monitor water and electricity bills incurred by the toilet.
And the toilet will even “recognise” you via Bluetooth as you approach, adjusting water pressure and other settings to your preferred options, meaning you don’t have to re-set it for each member of the family.
And, there’s a feature which sounds as if it was made just for nutritionist and television presenter Gillian McKeith from the Channel 4 show You Are What You Eat, who is renowned for asking clients to bring in bowel movement samples. The new toilet app has a health function which creates a diary so users can see how often they have used the toilet.
The three techy toilets will be launched under the Satis brand name. But it hasn’t gone down well with everyone. One forum user said: “So, now you’ll use the toilet and then put your dirty hands on your phone? Someone didn’t think this through.” And another said: “Wow, someone paid scientists to develop another useless invention. I’m sure it’s still quicker to just pull the chain.”
But others have been much more complimentary. Mohammed Kamran Khan said: “Yes, I love the idea! Hope to see this in hotels soon and, when it’s economical, would love to install one at home.”
The new devices certainly won’t come cheap though. Prices will range from $2,385 to $4,657 – definitely a lot more than spending a penny!
And, Lixil certainly isn’t without competition. Fellow Japanese company Toto is probably best known for making washlets, having sold more than 30 million of the appliances, and the company is now hoping to gain more ground in the US market.
And Toto already has at least one fan. During a recent visit to Japan, Pop queen Madonna said: “I’ve missed the heated toilet seats”.