Smart Bathroom for Health

Smart Bathroom for Health

Imagine going to a bathroom that knows all about your health and can give you personalized advice.. OnePlanet Research Center is well on it’s way to make this concept a reality!

Measure your own blood pressure or heart rate

A major problem in healthcare is that patients have to measure all kinds of bodily functions for a long amount of time. This is a big challenge for many patients. In the hospital, patients get help with measuring their heart rate or blood pressure, for example. But often these measurements are still necessary at home and then people quickly forget. OnePlanet wants to make that process easier and soon thought of the bathroom. The bathroom is a place where people come every day. You are likely to take a shower and brush your teeth, but something everyone uses several times a day for sure, the toilet. The ideal place to take measurements without noticing!

What if… you could monitor, get insights and even advice about your personal health…in the bathroom?

A smart toilet full of sensors

A toilet that tells you how you are doing, while you don’t have to do a thing. That was the researchers’ plan. The goal was to make things as easy as possible for people. For example, the toilet now measures someone’s blood pressure and all you have to do is sit on the toilet. The toilet does this with the help of sensors that are strategically located on the seat and in the bowl. In addition to the change in blood pressure, the toilet bowl also measures your heart rate and the variation therein and the oxygen level in your blood. And because it is a toilet, it also measures the salt content in your urine. All together, a fair amount of information comes from a single toilet visit!

Are you drinking enough?

The information collected, currently consists mainly out of raw data, but researchers at OnePlanet are working hard to make that information applicable. At this moment, the smart bathroom trajectory is still in a development phase. It is clear that, in addition to the toilet, even more smart devices will be needed in the bathroom of the future. OnePlanet is working on an expansion. For example, the toilet will be linked to a smart mirror, so that people can immediately see how they are doing. That mirror tells you whether you are drinking enough and whether your heart rate is healthy. Real time and personalized advice from the comfort of ones bathroom.

Challenges

How to show those medical data to people within the Smart bathroom is still a challenge. Not only can the data be interpreted differently per person, that information and interpretation also needs to be kept safe for people. For example, one single abnormality in the heart rate does not have to mean anything immediately. So if the toilet bowl immediately rings the alarm, that would not be pleasant and alarm people unnecessarily.

Does the smart toilet already work in practice? Certainly!

OnePlanet Research Center has already done a live demonstration at Lowlands with the smart toilet. That was a combination of fun and science, of course, but the team did collect interesting data. At Lowlands, the main goal was to give visitors a taste of what a smart toilet might look like in the future.

The bathroom of the future

OnePlanet has big plans for the smart toilet. “In addition to data interpretation, the main goal is to add more sensors, so that we can collect even more relevant data and generate even more targeted health advice. Currently, the toilet is already looking at the urine and heart rate, but OnePlanet would like to add, for example, faeces to that. The center is now looking at what is possible and what could be done even better. Another important topic that has the attention of the research team is validation: is the data from the toilet bowl correct enough? It is of course slightly different than, for example, a simple thermometer.

Before this smart bathroom can start helping people, all data needs to be correct. Once the data is validated, the team will look into the presentation of the application. It has to be easy and quick to understand for the user, because most of us do not want to spend hours in the bathroom. In a way, it needs to be so simple we don’t even notice it. Because, while we are still dependent on devices and wearables today, in the future we can make technology an almost unnoticeable, integrated part of our lives. The Smart Bathroom is a glimpse into that future.

Would you like to know more about the Smart Bathroom? Contact Annelies Goris or Eva Wentink through info@oneplanetresearch.nl

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What if… we can use digital technology to contribute to a better and healthier future for everyone?

OnePlanet Research Center