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The Toilet...Digitally Transformed

The latest recipient of the digital transformation treatment is the humble toilet. Almost entirely unchanged since its invention 150 years ago, the toilet is now being reimagined with the power of digital. 

The Toilet: a medical goldmine

Our toilet habits are a minefield of medical insight. Urine and fecal samples can give us early warnings of cancer, tell us how many calories we are eating, whether we have exercised, give warning signs of infection, and even detect what foods we might be allergic to. 

But at the moment we flush this medical-gold-dust down the toilet, without giving it a second thought. 

Digital transformation

toilet digital transformation smart toilet

Not for much longer. Digital transformation is taking the power of artificial intelligence and applying it to our advantage. 

The image pictured above is a smart being developed by two scientists: Joshua Coon and Ian Miller. Their aim is to develop a toilet that can detect more than 600 biomarkers for common illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and kidney disease. 

Another company called Coprata is developing a toilet fit for the future. Initially they are focusing on urine analysis as that is far more simple than fecal analysis. In the future, they hope to be able to advise on everything from early cancer to nutritional imbalances. 

This at home, smart technology has the potential to save countless lives. Social embarrassment around stool and urine samples can delay people in seeking medical attention, so these devices have the potential to save lives through early detection. With the increased demand on medical care from Covid, anything that can incorporate useful medical diagnostics into everyday life is very welcome. 

These are not the first attempts at creating smart toilets. In 2018 Panasonic launched a toilet that could check your body fat levels from urine analysis. Toi Labs have developed a toilet seat that can sit on top of the existing loo - a clever approach to the problem which would be much more accessible and far cheaper than replacing a whole toilet. 

Most of the current devices analyse things like volume, consistency, frequency. It will be some time before we have advanced technology that could save lives in our daily toilet regime. But technology is advancing at a rapid pace, so we can expect it to be within the next few years. Copatra hopes to have a toilet that can medically analyse urine ready for market sometime in 2022. 

The power of digital transformation is changing the world. We recently wrote about the Mercedes AVTR and its embodiment of digital transformation by utilising technology to reimagine user experience: read it here. 

Read an in-depth article about digital transformation here.

Toilet data privacy

This does raise questions about data use. As smart devices become more common, we are surrendering personal information to software and application operators. When Google bought FitBit, they also acquired a host of very personal data. There are positives to the rise of a data driven society. A huge data set, with the right artificial intelligence and machine learning methods applied could move science forwards in ways that we cannot yet imagine. 

Perhaps privacy doesn’t matter in the face of such technological advancement. Perhaps it is a price worth paying. But the truth is, we don’t yet know what the implications of such data harvesting might be. We are in a new age - an age of data, and we are on the frontier. 

One thing is for sure - we are living through innovative times, and the pace of innovation is only going to accelerate. 

If you are feeling a need to excel in this new, post-digital world, where digital transformation is considered the new normal, contact us now. We are experts in helping businesses leverage digital in a cost-efficient way that works. 

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