Smart toilet monitors body waste for signs of disease

Hyperaxion Apr 8, 2020

Still in the testing phase, the technology can be applied in common toilets and help in the diagnosis of several diseases, including cancer.

Researchers at Stanford University, in the United States, developed a system that, connected to the toilet, detects diseases (including some types of cancer, such as colorectal and prostate cancer) from human waste, and also sends all the data to the smartphone of the user. The invention was described in an article published on Nature, April 6.

Smart toilet monitors body waste for signs of disease
The technology can help in the diagnosis of several diseases, including cancer. (Credit: Stanford Medicine).

“When I’d bring it up, people would sort of laugh because it seemed like an interesting idea, but also a bit odd,” says Sanjiv “Sam” Gambhir, Stanford professor and lead author of the study, in a note.

The technology consists of a toilet lid that has a motion sensor to detect feces and urine. Once it receives the “material”, the system performs a series of tests. Urine samples are subjected to physical and molecular analysis; the evaluation of the feces is based on physical characteristics. The gadget identifies the user thanks to a fingerprint collection system on the flush lever, in addition to a camera that digitizes the anus.

The system is modular, allowing it to fit into conventional toilets.
The system is modular, allowing it to fit into conventional toilets. (Credit: Seung-min Park et al., 2020 / Nature Biomedical Engineering).

The extracted data is automatically sent to the person’s mobile phone in a secure system located in the cloud. In the future, the idea is that this data will be integrated into the record-keeping system of any health care provider for quick and easy access.

Gambhir believes that the smart toilet will one day be in the bathroom of many homes, as the technology can be installed in any toilet. “It’s sort of like buying a bidet add-on that can be mounted right into your existing toilet,” said Gambhir.

It is worth remembering, however, that the technology is not a substitute for a visit to the doctor – it would only help to identify potential problems.

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