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Machine learning to identify your ‘anal fingerprint’ and artificial vision for feces: the “revolution” of the smart toilet is as funny as it is necessary

When Lewis and Heaton presented the Bristol Stool Scale in 1997 at the Scandinavian Journal of GastroenterologyThey could sense that their idea was going to become one of the most widely used clinical and experimental scales in the world; but by no means could they suspect that they were falling short. Seven types of stool (ranging from “sheep droppings” to “totally liquid” through all kinds of “sausages”) seemed enough.

But it’s never enough. We are, if you allow me the expression, insatiable beings. So it is not surprising that in recent years research groups and companies around the world have started a race to find the definitive standard for analyzing (in real time) things like quantity, density, volume, clarity, the consistency or color of human feces. In real time and with deep learning.

As Emine Saner said in The Guardian, the “era of the smart toilet” is here. And it is something to see.

Consumer technology meets the toilet

Brian Mcgowan 1q7f2he Rla Unsplash

Brian Mcgowan

In Engadget we have already declared ourselves over and over again fans of the Japanese toilet. Nevertheless, that mythical cross between a toilet and a bidet that we discovered with fascination in the 90’s looks like new devices what Grahan Bell’s phone does to the iPhone 13.

The fascinating world of Japanese electronic toilets: sensors, microchips and what's to come

For example, a research group at the Stanford University School of Medicine is introducing cameras inside toilet bowls to, through the use of deep learning algorithms, recognize the “anal fingerprint” of users. That is, the unique characteristics of the skin that surrounds the final part of the anal canal. The same researchers are working on applications to control the flow rate and volume of urine with mechanical vision.

“This is excellent news,” says Guido Corradi, professor at the Camilo José Cela University and coordinator of ToiletScience, an initiative that studies the impact of public toilets on health and quality of life. “At a technological and design level, bathrooms have not changed much since the 1960s.” “This is due, in large part, to the fact that it is not a striking sector for innovative companies” since, with the progressive ‘privatization’ of toilets (and the growing disinterest towards public toilets) everything around this world has become a kind of taboo.

A taboo that the obsession with personal quantification (and the emergence of a technology sector geared towards the elderly) seems to have managed to put in check. I don’t know if we are living in the “golden age of smart toilets” as Victor Tangermann used to say; but what is clear is that companies and initiatives abound. Coprata, for example, is focused on improving our stool scanning systems to find better health indicators.

Smart toilets: regulatory and safety difficulties installing them if you buy them outside of Europe

[Thatistheywant[Esdecirquierenturn the toilet into another element in monitoring the health of all of us. Along the same lines, Toi Labs also seeks to find technological solutions to go beyond the weight of the stool or the user’s posture. And, for this, they are “using optical methods to observe aspects such as volume, clarity, consistency or color.”

It sounds weird, even comical. But as Corradi says, “humor in this context can be a great ally.” In the end, “the bathroom is an important issue because we all make use of it; in a way, we are all dependent on it. And, although we are not usually aware, the problems related to it are a constant source of medical, physiological and disorders. also psychological “. “There is no awareness that the toilet can be our ally and one more actor in our health” and If this helps the technological revolution reach them, we will all benefit.

Imagen | Giorgio Found