Weird Medicine

New ‘Smart Toilet' Checks Your Poop, Urine To Detect Cancer, Kidney Problems, More

Detecting diseases may soon be as easy as going to the comfort room. A new “smart toilet” has been created to help people find early signs of health problems in their poop and urine. 

The technology was designed to find disease markers of cancer, irritable bowel syndrome and kidney failure, among other conditions. Researchers said the toilet may be helpful particularly to people who are genetically predisposed to certain conditions.

"Our concept dates back well over 15 years," Sanjiv Gambhir, a professor and chair of radiology at Stanford Medicine, said in a statement. "When I'd bring it up, people would sort of laugh because it seemed like an interesting idea, but also a bit odd." 

The smart toilet finds signs of diseases through a set of gadgets inside the bowl. The technology uses motion sensing to start testing the user’s urine and poop. 

A built-in camera first records the deposits and uses algorithms to analyze stool consistencies and normal "urodynamics," like flow rate, stream time and total volume. The toilet also releases urinalysis strips to directly measure molecular features of samples. 

The smart toilet then sends data to a cloud-based system for safekeeping and further assessment. Gambhir said he hopes the system may soon be integrated into health care provider's systems for easy access.

The researchers tested the smart toilet with 21 participants. The technology appeared capable of detecting 10 different biomarkers and many people expressed that they were very comfortable using it.

"The thing about a smart toilet, though, is that unlike wearables, you can't take it off," Gambhir said. "Everyone uses the bathroom -- there's really no avoiding it -- and that enhances its value as a disease-detecting device."

Smart Toilet: Your Anus Is Your Fingerprint

Gambhir hopes that the smart toilet would become part of the average home bathroom. He also designed an add-on tool that can be integrated into any old porcelain bowl.

Aside from providing a faster way to detect diseases, the smart technology also promises to secure user data. The toilet has a built-in identification system that includes a flush lever that reads fingerprints and a tool that scans the anus for user recognition.

Gambhir said each person’s "anal print is unique." But he noted the doctor or health care provider receiving data from the smart toilet will not access the anus images. 

The researchers plan to enhance the smart toilet with new molecular analysis for stool samples. The team also aims to test the technology with more participants.

Smart Toilet Researchers at Stanford Medicine have developed a "smart toilet" that could detect early signs of health problems in the poop and urine and uses "anus recognition" to secure user data. Pixabay

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