Don't Throw Shade On A Smart Toilet Seat, It's Not As Dumb As It Sounds
We saw a proliferation of a new genre of health tracker at CES 2023, one that requires you to merely pay a visit to your toilet. Whether you're taking a leak or number two, there was a gadget for everyone, it seems.
Working in tandem with wearables and smartphone, toilet seats and clip-on devices are set to track your well-being even when your doing your business. CES this year saw many products that hinted at what's possible, even if their capabilities are admittedly limited right now.
The Heart Seat by Casana is a toilet seat replacement that can measure your heart rate, Sp02, and blood pressure through sensors. It's pending FDA approval to be sold as a medical device, whereby health information and trends gathered by the Heart Seat will be sent to your healthcare provider if your heart rate or blood pressure falls outside of the safe range.
Closer to production and availability (mid-2023) is the Withings U-Scan, which is puck-sized sensor that slides into the toilet bowl, rather like a bowl freshener disc. There are two sensor cartridges available—one tracks nutritional and metabolic information, while the other tracks menstrual and ovulation cycles.
Vivoo currently sells a personal urine test strip that helps user personalize their nutrition and lifestyle choices via the Vivoo app. In Las Vegas, the company introduced its clip-on toilet seat with a pee analyzer. A sensor reads the urine stream, then provides various health parameters, which the user can monitor nutrient and hydration levels, urinary pH, and so on. Vivoo's goal is to initially provide the seat to industries that serve older adults, and then have it for broader consumer markets by 2025.
Of course, these being first generation ideas, there are some obvious foundations and issues that still need working out. Cross-platform data sharing needs to happen, rather than requiring separate apps or services just to track and tabulate simple information such as heart rate or blood pressure.
Moreover, inherent flaws of devices like the U-Scan are portability and hygiene. Clip-ons are great if you use one toilet only, such as in your primary bathroom or in nursing homes, but moving them around to other toilets or if on your travels isn't very convenient or hygienic. Speaking of hygiene, these sensor pods are additional places for fungus to grow, and let's not forget what happens when fecal matter splatter occurs, which is bound to happen sooner or later.
If you want more coverage of CES 2023, check out our favorite products from the show here.