The toilet of the future? A design award challenged students to re-imagine the simple sit and flush.
The winner of the award reconfigures to the posture of the user.
Three students at the Central St Martin’s College at the University of Arts London took part in the contest, put on by plumbing company Dyno-Rod Drains.
The winning design was the “wellbeing toilet.” The students wanted to bring the toilet into a more natural state, between the chair-like structure of modern toilets and the squatting position used in primitive toilets, student Victor Johansson told NBC via email.
The sitting position of the modern toilet “is wrong,” and is obstructing the bowels, Johansson said. “The natural position for a human to sit is in a squatting position.”
“The angle increases the risk of things like colon diseases and bowel-related illnesses,” Sam Sheard, another of the students, told Fastco. “Ideally you should squat, but there are negative social connotations because we’re used to sitting down on a toilet, whereas in other cultures, it’s fine.”
The students faced the problem, though, of needing to introduce something new but not so completely odd that people wouldn’t accept it. “If you asked a toilet customer in the UK if he would consider buying a squatting toilet he would laugh at you,” said Pierre Papet, another of the students.
The winning design remains in a prototype stage and would need further development to be brought to market.
Another health benefit that comes with it could help that. The toilet analyzes urine.
“It’s what you’d get if you go to the doctor now, and you need to be checked for diabetes or kidney disease and they check things like the phosphates in the urine,” Sheard said. “In the U.K., many people with diabetes are diagnosed late, which adds billions of pounds a year in health costs.”
With added technology, the toilet could analyze nutritional deficiencies, and replace pregnancy tests, Sheard said.