‘Finishing Touches.’ The touch-free future of our Public Toilets & Restrooms.

‘We want to make an impact on human wellbeing, by changing the definition of a toilet break. ‘ OneHundredRestrooms

How easy is it to lose touch? As demand for touchless products increases, could bathrooms be entirely touchfree and perhaps, more importantly since coronavirus could we see more TouchFree Public Toilets, office buildings and common public areas. This week we’ll take a brief look at everything from the more familiar touchfree moments, such as ‘automatic doors, taps, soap dispensers and hand dryers’ to the less imaginable ‘totally touchfree toilets’ featuring lids that open and close automatically, automated washing and drying functions, self-flushing and cleaning.

Public Inconvenience. A public inconvenience has recently been experienced, spotlighted and amplified by the closures of numerous public toilets following the outbreak of coronavirus. We touched on this in our article, ‘Beauty Spots’ where to go when there’s nowhere to go? ‘ on June 4th. Press and media reports on the subject caused much debate as closures headlined around the world. To distinguish, when we talk about ‘Public Toilets‘ we refer to old and new stand-alone ‘wash+WCs’ in parks or on street corners, which are by far the most challenging to manage and improve. The others, which we’ll refer to as ‘Toilets for the Public,’ are the ‘restrooms‘ that sit within shopping malls, airports (public transport hubs) and similar private/public spaces, petrol stations, restaurants, bars, hotels and offices. The majority of which are ordinarily far better managed by nature of their locations, constant checking, attendants, higher quality fixtures and fittings, hygiene and cleanliness, and the all-important key to their overall success… funding, or clever funding models.

Why do Public Toilets Matter? There’s reams of government information about the provision and accessibility of public toilets and the importance to us all as a society. Issues they addresses include; public health, older and/or disabled people, women, families with young children and tourists, hygiene, cleanliness, safety, privacy and of course funding. There’s equally as much written about the failures of public toilets in addressing those issues and about the lack of accessibility or sufficient number. In our modern day society public toilets should be a well-respected service for the community, providing a clean and hygienic, safe and welcoming environment. If they are not treated as such by the public, nor supported, funded, maintained and well managed by politicians, local governments, architects and planners alike, then it impacts our society and society suffers, particularly women, children and the disabled. Perhaps rather altruistically, better public toilets could be a catalyst for change in public opinion and perception about their worth and necessity. To give some perspective, for 2 billion people (25% of the world population) public toilets, access to water and/or any basic sanitation doesn’t even exist.

‘Back to the Future.’ As ever, the more cutting-edge technology, innovation and design that’s introduced and succeeds, the greater the chance of its increased use and integration on a grander scale. We’ll get back to the wider subject of the outside ‘Public Toilets‘ in another post. This week we wanted to showcase a Dutch company that we’ve been keeping an eye on and their vision for the future, ‘OneHundredRestrooms‘. One strapline is, ‘We Create Moments for Better Wellbeing‘ and since they started back in 2017 ‘health & hygiene’ has been part of their DNA. As health and hygiene is increasingly more relevant to us all, their concept to disrupt with a difference is succeeding by contributing to improved hygiene, sustainability and innovation whilst creating publicity, awareness and acceptance of a change for good. These days, where everything can be connected and smart, toilets and bathrooms remain a very undervalued and untapped area. However, they potentially offer the perfect environment and place to take care of yourself. As more and more people look for ways to monitor their complete well-being, and do so continuously, in privacy and without having to change their daily routines. Not forgetting in light of the global pandemic there’s now a general health-driven purpose to getting insights into personal and public health conditions. As recent epidemiology and science studies of waste have highlighted by acting as an early warning sign for coronavirus outbreaks.

The Motivational Mirror

OneHundredRestrooms. The OneHundredRestrooms concept can transform your trip to the bathroom into a visit to a wellbeing hub that offers and introduces new intelligent toilet technologies. These can provide insights into our personal health during a moment when we pause and refresh. It’s not all high-tech as the touchless products with sensors can partner those adaptations that can be operated by avoiding the need to touch surfaces with our hands i.e. foot-switches, or using our elbows or wrists. OneHundredRestrooms provides an environment in which you can take care of yourself and grab a little ‘me time.’ The experience includes; Roca In-Wash® Inspira Smart Toilets. There’s a self-check area offers solutions to monitor health indicators like weight, blood pressure, length and body mass index, or perform a skin analysis. The restrooms are kept super clean by their ‘comfort crew’ and are spacious, relaxing, soundproofed and ‘non-touch.’ You can buy all of your ‘on the go’ essentials such as baby diapers, tissues, tampons, plasters or first aid kit from their vending wall. There’s a disabled room, family and nursery rooms and even a shower room. Before you leave you can stop at the ‘motivational mirror’ while washing your hands, then give feedback at the rating pad and suggest improvements or ideas. These wellbeing hubs provide a ‘5-minute wellbeing boost,’ a far cry from our usual perceptions of public restrooms. In the near future OneHundredRestrooms plan to have; medical toilets, skin analyses, drowsiness detection, alcohol checks and a whole lot more.  To quote OneHundredRestrooms COO Andy Donaghy, “Feeling safe about the hygiene of public spaces is more important than ever. After all, hygiene and health go hand in hand.”

Technology. Experience. Environment. Good technology creates a desirable experience and should encompass environmental impact as high priority. Toilet and bathroom technology need to be part of a good experience, and with the knowledge you’re helping the environment. Appreciably, for domestic bathrooms, not everyone can afford a high tech smart toilet. For example, if you look at an early game-changer like the Neorest® NX2 from Toto Japan, (approx. $17,000) it clearly illustrates the technological possibilities with, wait for it… a self-cleaning retractable pinpoint accurate ‘wand’ (washlet) to wash and dry your rear (bits and butts) and you are in control of the pressure and temperature. It actively fights bacteria, waste and limescale by spraying a ‘pre-mist’ into the toilet bowl using electrolysed water to prevent waste from accumulating. The toilet bowl itself is coated with a special zirconium coating, the hydrophilic properties of which ensures that waste and bacteria are effectively eliminated. To add to the self-cleaning process and the pre-mist, there’s and an integrated UV light that combines with the zirconium coating to trigger the decomposition process, making a toilet brush unnecessary. It also has a number of additional convenient features, such as a sensor-based toilet lid that opens and closes automatically, a heated seat and a deodoriser to absorb unpleasant smells. Plus, (in case you were wondering) a remote control – ‘with no place to hide it!’

Is the New Night Out a Night In? However, that’s not all that ‘Smart Toilets‘ can do for you. The Grohe Sensia Arena has a ventilator system in the toilet that shields and extracts odours, before processing them through a carbon filter. There’s a lot of innovation and ideas out there right now and Kohler’s Numi 2 adds to the previous list of accessories; high-quality built-in speakers and lighting features that can be paired with the speakers to create different ‘spa-like’ environments within a bathroom space. An Amazon Alexa is built into the product and provides voice control of Numi’s features as well as access to tens of thousands of skills. But, regarding add-ons that keep you glued to your seat? I thought you were meant to be on and off the toilet PDQ as it’s the healthiest option for your undercarriage. Unless, in view of future social distancing, those speakers and multi coloured lights are the closest you’re going to get to a wild night out in Berlin? The focus has to be on the real benefits to ourselves and our families. That includes being touch-free, aiding health, our wellbeing and use of environmentally friendly services to save water, recycle or offer sustainability. Touchless products with sensor technology are ideal for this scenario. They avoid us touching surfaces and can also reduce water consumption, bringing us back to the perfect marriage of technology, experience and environment.

Our Daily Routine, parts 1, 2 and 3. I guess we’ve all had that experience when we’ve found a restroom that had something, or some ‘gadget’ that we went on to tell our friends or family about (my Dutch wife loves the serenity of the restroom at Schiphol Airport where you hear the sound of the sea, I like the picture of a fly, strategically positioned in the urinals.) The main point here is that amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life OneHundredRestrooms‘ concept is a personal ‘experience’ and it’s got lots of genuinely useful ‘gadgets.’ It is incredibly convenient and provides a really easy way to get a health check, whilst going about your normal business (no.’s 1 and 2.) For just €1 you can get an entry ticket with multiple benefits, visitors get all of the aforementioned services and even free drinking water. As the retail ads say, ‘it’s value for money.’ If you can add all that together as a no.3 during your toilet break, and do so in an oasis of calm and relaxation, then… ‘what’s not to like?’ It’s definitely my next ‘go to’… when it’s time to go!

[Thank you to Marielle Romejin, co-founder and Chief Brand Officer OneHundredRestrooms for use of the photos and her kind help with providing us with information for the above article.] We’ll be back next week.

‘The Daily Poo!’ Kids books, patents pending & the latest news on poos & no. 2s.

https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/world-kindness-day

Happy #RandomActsOfKindnessDay | Welcome back and thanks for following our posts. It’s been a busy few weeks working on the third children’s book on our toilets and poo series for kids, as well as progressing with the patents we have to help people go to the loo more easily. As and when we are able to share more on this you will be the first to know! Meanwhile, let’s look back at the week’s best articles and stories on the world of poo and no. 2s… This week we go deeper on the question of wash or wipe, the environmental impact and the why’s and wherefores!

  1. Prevention’s Korin Miller explains the 17 Best Foods to Help You Poop When You’re Constipated, According to Experts. ‘Go with the Flow!’
  2. Columbia students: Consider alternative methods for bathroom hygiene. In other words we’re taking another look at the Wash vs Wipe question… from the Columbia Daily Spectator.
  3. Seems that experts agree with the washers more than wipers. Is the way we clean our bums about to turn back in favour of washing? Article by  Khoo Bee Khim of CNA Lifestyle.
  4. Toilet Paper vs the Bum Gun! Which one is Better? …asks The Thaiger.
  5. We’re Destroying Virgin Forests For Toilet Paper – What Are The Alternatives? Carolyn Fortuna for Clean Technica takes a look at the options.
  6. Apparently Reusable Toilet Paper Is A Thing And I Have Many, Many Questions. If the wash or wipe question is boggling your mind, wait ’til you read this about reusable wipes! Abbey Lenton reports for 10 Daily Lifestyle.
  7. Sheep Poo and human skin. The latest sources of antibiotic alternatives, by Colm Gorey for SiliconRepublic.
  8. Is This New York City’s Nicest Public Bathroom? …by Winnie Hu for the New York Times. ‘Don’t we all want a nice public bathroom when out and about!?’
  9. ‘What Tiny Snail Poop Could Mean For Latin America’s Coffee Farms’, by Luke Fater of Atlas Obscura. The Snail that could help save your favourite cup of coffee!
  10. NetDoctor explains… ‘What causes poo or bum burn after spicy food?

On that happy note, let’s put all these articles behind us. We look forward to publishing the next edition of ‘The Daily Poo!’ same time next week. Random act of kindness? Don’t leave anyone an empty toilet roll – replace it! 🙂

Childrens books, content, text & illustrations
copyright Mark Hendriksen 2020

iMore look at wacky CES 2020 products let you have a super futuristic bathroom. But, what about ideas that care for the health & wellbeing of the user?

With pretty huge price tags, these latest techy toilets may have all the bells and whistles you could imagine, but what about adding features that actually aid your personal health, posture and hygiene.

Back to the drawing board? Manufacturers should be aware that it’s not always just about ‘the bottom line’ it’s about our bottoms… pelvic floors, hernias, haemorrhoids, and hearts etc. ie peoples health and wellbeing? Oh, and while we’re on these expensive thrones, how about considering some of those profits going towards the likes of the World Toilet Organisation to help the 25%+ of the population who have no access to basic sanitation? – Just thought we oughta get to the bottom of this 🙂

https://www.imore.com/these-wacky-ces-2020-products-let-you-have-super-futuristic-bathroom

Posture in the bathroom. The Guardian and the question of sit or squat.

Helping sanitary ware manufacturers to improve their bottom line or millions of people to save their bottoms?

If, as seems evident and is well documented, a change in posture can, and does, make a difference when you use the loo, then it’s time to ditch the idea of a plastic footrest which simply cannot go mainstream and help enough people. It’s time for the manufacturers to integrate an attractive bathroom accessory that blends seamlessly with any surrounding and offers a lifetime of health benefits for less than a 1 month gym membership .

We’ve got the patents pending for just such a range of products – and we’re out there looking for a licensee to capitalise on the opportunity and help millions of people with their health and wellbeing, from potty training to adulthood, and that’s not all that it can do to improve peoples lifestyles – interested in talking to us? info@eazyposture.com

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/nov/30/bowel-movement-change-the-way-you-poo-squatty-potty-toilet

British Patent Application No. GB 1811698.7 Albright IP | Mark Hendriksen 2018

It’s not just about the bottom line, it’s also about your bottom. Are you sitting comfortably?

When, or rather if, we discuss going to the loo it’s generally either with your partner and it’s personal, with your friends and mates but its humour, or with your doctor, because you have a problem.

Loo talk is generally taboo, but it may be about time to change all that, or at least make it an acceptable topic of conversation. Truth is, sanitary ware manufacturers, yes the people that make all the stuff you find in your bathroom, including the loo, are focussing more on ‘the bottom line’ than they are about your bottom.

Thank goodness for that you’re thinking, and anyway how would they see my bottom without having a series of law suits being filed against them? Well, that’s not quite my point. What I’m talking about is more to do with your health, in particular health issues relating to sitting on the toilet (aka ‘the throne.’)

Mums and dads have probably been telling you forever, that it’s bad to spend too long on the loo, and they’re right of course. So that’s probably the message you impart to your own children.

Straining isn’t good – you’ll recognise the kind of outcomes of straining that we’re discussing here; haemorrhoids (piles) and/or constipation, hernias and pelvic organ disorders incl. prolapse, or worse, colon cancer and even heart attacks. But that’s not solely to do with spending too much time on the loo. There’s a reason that begins way way back many centuries ago (that’s not a cue to sing the intro song from Joseph by the way) it’s a plain fact.

Quite a few of you will know this, or will almost certainly say, ‘yer, that’s right, of course!’ on hearing this… we, the human race, were designed to squat. Let’s face it, in times of emergency we’ve probably all squatted outside behind the bushes and completed the task in record time, thus avoiding bumping into a stray dog walker or other potential embarrassing scenarios.

The reason things speed up and slide out with such ease, is because you’re actually back in the correct posture to achieve the end goal. In other words, sitting kinks your colon and makes it more difficult to go. What actually happened when the first sit down system was invented (centuries before Thomas Crapper then mistakenly took the title of inventor of the loo) was nothing! What do I mean nothing I hear you ask over the hissing and booing about my seemingly discrediting Mr Crapper?

Well, the answer is simple and the subject so ancient, that one the question everyone should have asked over all of these years, has only recently been put out there, ‘Where was the research and backing of such a dramatic posture change that changed the way many from the world of squatters did their business? It’s taboo has unintentionally left a legacy of problems for generation upon generation.

There’s heaps and heaps of research to support this fact, and wide ranging agreement from doctors to osteopaths across the ‘sit down’ globe, that sitting simply isn’t how nature intended us to evacuate. The same specialists also confirm the impact it has on your health and, with osteopaths and yoga teachers pointing out that it also impacts your flexibility and agility throughout your life.

Picture the squatting nations (not squatting on the loo, that’s not quite the picture I wanted to put in your head) but picturing the fact that they can sit in a squat position, comfortably and easily for anything up to and beyond 10 minutes. Ask most ‘thronees’ if they can do that? Unless they do yoga or are exercising a lot, probably not, and as people get older, it becomes even more difficult. Especially if you gave up squatting from the moment you had your first triumphant sit on the potty, when you were in the 2s and 3s.

What’s my point? I’d advised you not to spend too much time on the loo, and I’ve been on it, metaphorically speaking, for far too long. In fact it’s such an fascinating subject, covering so many things; design, history, culture, comedy, hygiene, engineering, mechanics, etc. etc., that I could go on, but back to the point.

The point is, as was revealed to me by a leading expert in the field of sanitary ware, that manufacturers aren’t interested in changing the designs of your wall or floor mounted toilet(s) to enable you to sit better, they’re more interested in the bottom line. Unless they begin to realise the cost to individuals, the burden on the healthcare services, the far-reaching consequences of their inaction, then many of you can kiss your arse goodbye!

Angle35In the USA a few years back, on their equivalent of Dragon’s Den, there was a pitch to get funding for a plastic step, that enables you to raise your feet to a 35 degree angle whilst sitting. That product was funded instantaneously. Its adoption has resulted in sales reaching close to $33 million this year. It’s helping millions of people but it’s not a common feature in today’s bathrooms.

Like I said at the beginning of this article, there’s a lot of taboo about the loo. So, a plastic stool (foot stool that is, for those with their toilet funny bone still intact) is not the aesthetically discreet solution the majority of us would prefer to choose. In saying that I must congratulate and fully support the remarkable owners/inventors of the ‘squattypotty’ for helping so many people and continuing to innovate and design.

This year, I patented a number designs that use common bathroom materials and features to wrap neatly around the toilet with simple chrome fittings and an attractive look, to seamlessly blend with most bathroom designs and to your raise legs, not eyebrows, when you visit your or any other bathroom.  What’s the reaction to this so far, in spite of there being quite a simple, cost effective and attractive solution? Effectively…

‘We’re not interested in fixing this problem because it doesn’t help our bottom line.’

In fact, I strongly disagree. It would help their bottom line, and as people are educated about the right posture and how easy it is to alleviate and avoid potential or current problems – they may find they have a great selling opportunity, as well as being honest and caring for their customers. I was bought up to believe that’s what made an average company, a truly great company.

For those of you who don’t experience any problems, thanks for reading this and hope it provided a useful insight. For those of you who do suffer, and for future generations, and for the health of the nation and other nations who sit, it’s time to fight for our squatters rights!!

by Mark Hendriksen [copyright, HendriksenPublishing 09.2018 First published 10.09.2018]

With thanks to Giulia Enders for the inspiration from her best selling book, ‘The Gut’ and to Albright IP in Cheltenham, Gloucs UK for their help and guidance through the patenting process. Additionally to all the bookshops and researchers who have provided me with a wealth of information in support of the need to squat, along with some great toilet humour and remarkable facts about our most private room and the history of its many functional furnishings.