Transformation of Toilets

Article By: Joyce Chen

Imagine your ultimate temple of relaxation; serene music playing in the background,  your body full of warmth and comfort, and soft lights gently glowing around the room as you to sink into your irresistibly soft seat.

Many think that the only way to access such a wonderful state of relaxation or let alone find a place of quiet and peace would be at a posh hotel or spa. However, these days, all people need to reach their desired atmosphere of relaxation is a toilet.

Toilets are said to be one of the greatest inventions of mankind. In the eighteenth century, British watchmaker Alexander Cummings made the first flush toilet, providing London and the rest of the world with a more comfortable and sanitary design. From then on, inventors and designers have worked to improve toilets to be more user friendly.

As technology has progressed, both the designs and functions of toilets have also done the same. This is proven by the updates and added perks the toilets of today have: automatic flushing on lids that automatically open, furry toilets seats on seats that allow the user to adjust the temperature, and air fresheners are only some of many more features! Furthermore, some toilets have features that may seem inessential, including music speakers and machines that measure the user’s heart rate.

numiFor example, one of the most famous designs of extravagant toilets is Kohler’s Numi that does literally everything for its user. According to their website, “Numi comes complete with a self-opening and closing lid so you never have to touch the toilet seat; a self-cleaning bidet with adjustable controls for temperature and water pressure; an illuminated panel for nighttime rendezvous; and a deodorizing element that sucks air from the bowl through a charcoal filter. Of course, no connected appliance would be complete without a touchscreen, and the Numi’s no exception; it has a touch panel remote that you can use to set to your specifications”. Truly, these new functions have surpassed those of traditional toilets, but at the same time, the high-tech toilets are priced at a high price of $6,400 per unit.

As the price for high tech toilets increase, we start to question ourselves: are these functions and programs truly necessary and worth the price? From a survey of 10 students at ISM, some expressed their interest in the new toilets. One person said, “Because toilets are such an important necessity in our lives, buying a nicely made one is definitely worth a try”. However, the majority said that they preferred normal and cheaper ones, because “except [that they are] fancy looking, we don’t really need music or blood pressure tests in our toilet” and “the high tech ones are for sure hard to maintain”.

Overall, it is eye opening to see the cool functions and designs of the new toilets, but whether or not we should buy them still remains highly debatable.