Imagine walking into a toilet and not just doing the ‘usual’ but having the toilet play music to mask ‘disconcerting sounds’, deodorise the system during use and wash your backside after use. Oh, and these are just a few of its celebrity functions. Welcome to the age of smart toilets. We are talking about toilets that understands you and acts on your behalf. Meet TOTO toilets, a smart toilet brand that has redefined the use of a room that people squirm to talk about.
Perhaps it is fitting that the innovators of this high tech toilet should be Japanese, a society with delicate sensibilities regarding such matters.
What? A Smart Toilet?
You have heard of smartphones, smart watches, smart cars, and smart homes. Of course, we were going to get to smart toilets at some point in time, so why not?
A Visit that Changed the History of Japanese Toilets
Just a hundred years ago, the Japanese society still relied on outdoor squat toilets with no sewage systems in place but that was set to change when Kazuchika Okura visited Europe and saw their ceramic flush toilets.
Apparently impressed by what he saw, the inventor went to work and eleven years later, produced toilets similar to those used in the Western world. Three years after, the Toyo Toki Company was born. Today, that company, better known as TOTO is synonymous with globally acclaimed smart and quality toilets.
Undoubtedly, the evolution of its toilet technology profited from the wave of technological innovation that swept through Japan in the Twentieth Century. It showed that even equipment as dour and mundane as toilets can embody technological innovation.
Today, TOTO toilets have become symbolic of Japanese sanitary culture to the extent of being a tourist attraction. TOTO museum has played host to over 180, 000 visitors since it was opened just three years ago in Kitakyushu, southern Japan.
A Culture of Sanitary Innovation is Born
1980 will definitely go down in the annals of TOTO company with wide ramifications for the sanitary products industry. That year, the company started selling its product known as the Washlet. Essentially, this was an improvement on the European bidet which was used to wash the backside after using the toilet.
It wasn’t long before TOTO washlets became popular especially as the company targeted a certain demographic who place a huge emphasis on toilet sanitation; women. Now, TOTO toilets are found on aeroplanes, in restaurants, shopping malls, schools, hotels and more. The brand has spread far beyond its native shores of Japan as the West is buying into the brand despite earlier misgivings about its techy nature.
What Makes TOTO Toilets Smart?
If these features don’t convince you, nothing else will! Read on to see how a TOTO smart toilet works.
- Heated Seats: Artistically designed with contour concept, the aesthetics take nothing away from its comfort. The option to maintain comfort regardless of temperature is available with its integrated sensor that retains optimal setting between 82F and 97F.
- Ewater: The toilet uses electrolysed water to disinfect the toilet after each use to keep it clean and sanitised.
- Backside Cleaning: The user’s backside is washed after use by specially configured water pressure which is strong but pleasant. Intimate and delicate parts are thus given clean and careful treatment.
- Frontal Cleaning: Using large soft drops, the toilet system provides intimate cleansing that leaves the user feeling fresh.
- Warm Air Dryer: Hands-free air dryer with adjustable temperature that leaves users feeling comfortable, clean and dry.
- Deodorizer: Even as it is being used, the system sucks in air which is passed through a powerful iodized carbon filter. This immediately eliminates odours that typically accompany the use of a toilet.
- Automatic Lid: Using powerful sensors, the lid of the toilet opens and closes automatically, removing the need for users to operate it with their hands.
People who have used a TOTO smart toilet swear that using an ‘ordinary’ toilets subsequently is like resorting to primitive life. Apparently, it takes a maximum of two uses to become a TOTO brand evangelist! However, for all its resounding success in Japan, getting Americans to embrace this product en masse has not been easy.
Regardless, the company has sold over 40 million washlets and is aggressively pushing into new markets. Perhaps, you can buy one and become a brand evangelist also. Oh, did I mention that the classic washlet retails for $2,500 while the latest version (Neorest NX) goes for a princely sum of $6,000? One thing is for sure; users insist it is worth every penny spent.