December 1, 2008

Indoor Plumbing Convenience Devices in the Land of the Rising Sun

Sadly, here is yet another twist on the continuing saga of our indoor plumbing convenience devices.

It’s well known that Japanese scientists have come up with a science-fictional array of toilet accessories (e.g., heated seats, interior lighting, music consoles). These options are so legion, toilets have been equipped with their own control panels for years now. And as of 2008, you can use that panel to let the toilet know whether or not you want a tiny electrical charge to be sent through your buttocks to check on your body-fat ratio.

Ahem. And that’s nothing! According to this BBC article by Duncan Bartlett, the latest toilets (from Panasonic!?) will assess the gender of potential users and then automatically lift or lower the toilet seat accordingly. (Hmm, a little mischievous counter-programming could lead to hijinks...)

Mr. Bartlett notes that in Japan, “comedies sometimes include scenes of pranksters luring people into loos whose walls then collapse, and the embarrassment this causes the victim is a source of great hilarity. The Japanese —like the British— [don’t mind] when comedians… joke about scatological matters.” (Above left, not high tech, but an interesting design for saving space!)

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