IoT – The Internet of Toilets?
Let’s face it, when you have to go, you have to go. Might be number one, or maybe number two, could be both. What in the hell does this have to do with the Internet of Things you might be asking at this point. Let’s connect the dots.
IoT is going to hit us like a tsunami in the next few years, or that’s at least the prevailing wisdom. The tidal wave is still on the horizon, but make no mistake, intelligent devices, smart sensors, big data generating stuff, analytics, everything and anything in the universe connected to the web and each other, dogs and cats living together, is on the way. It’s all happening whether we want it to or not, so we might as well get with program.
Enter the toilet, arguably the single greatest invention in the history of mankind. Quick history lesson here. When the cave man, or woman, needed to go, they basically went where they were standing, probably didn’t think about it much, but soon realized it wasn’t optimal to hang out after the fact. Eventually, and this can be debated, man became more civilized and designated areas for depositing their human waste, and even started to add flowing water to the equation to carry away the crap, so to speak. Continue the evolution and man soon figured out that everybody got sick a lot less when they didn’t drink from the same water with their waste floating around. Ancient civilizations in India, Crete, Greece, Egypt and Rome began to separate out the water supply, implementing the first sewage systems that used flowing water to carry away human waste. Hence, the first toilet systems were born.
Fast forward to an English Chap named John Harrington, who is credited with installing the first flushing toilet for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I. Rumor is she was ecstatic and he soon became her favorite, but still had to use the outhouse. This was a couple of hundred years before the toilet gained widespread adoption with a new and improved version, that became the standard for indoor plumbing. It was another Brit, master plumber Thomas Crapper, brought the toilet to the common man, so you don’t have to use an outdoor outhouse, latrine or hole in the ground. Though you might prefer some family members take advantage of the bushes out back.
Let’s bring it home here with IoT. The promise of IoT is that it should revolutionize any and all ordinary aspects of life. Reality is intelligent sensors are coming to your toilet bowl. They’ll be hard wired or Wi-Fi enabled and will generate all types of analytics and big data that can be synchronized into your personal health management system. Say you have the runs. Your new smart toilet can analyze your feces and determine if you have a virus or a bacterial condition. Might even send you a text or email recommending some Maalox. May be something worse and even before you finish reading the newspaper and flush, it’s already checked yours and the doctor’s schedule, and has booked you an appointment.
You might find out the stork is on the way after your significant other’s urine is analyzed. No more dipstick. Think of all of the important health indicators and levels, of stuff you normally have to visit your doctor and/or visit the clinic for – blood sugars, PSA, cholesterol, etc.. What if they’re all automatically analyzed and available on your smartphone, smart watch, Fitbit, or whatever, just please wash your hands first before you check.
But wait, there’s more. Think of the efficiency gains and reduced water and energy bills, flush analysis data, reduction in toilet paper. You’ll be able to track who’s going when and how much crap they’re actually generating, which might verify what you already suspect. Big data don’t lie. You can hit your college age kid, home for the summer, with a detailed analysis report of everything they ingested and consumed out the night prior. Scary stuff, but the possibilities are endless.
The intelligent crapper is coming, embrace the revolution.
Written By: The IoT Dude