Tricked-out toilets

Tricked-out toilets

Technology is transforming toilet design, from the practical to the indulgent. In honor of World Toilet Day, which is November 19, check out these high-end toilets with their built-in music players, LED lights, blood-pressure monitors and speech-activated features.

The Neorest 600 from Japanese plumbing manufacturer Toto is a tankless toilet and personal cleansing unit. Its lid automatically opens when a person approaches it. When a person walks away from the Neorest 600 , it automatically flushes and closes the seat and lid. There's a remote control for operating features including water spray temperature, pressure and direction; seat heater; air dryer; and deodorizer. List prices for the Neorest 600 start at $5,200.

U.S. start-up Brondell is offering high-tech toilet seats with bidet washes, heated seats and automated deodorizing functions. The Swash line has retractable, self-cleaning wands for water washes, while the Breeza line, introduced this year, features deodorizing functions. The Brondell seats are designed to fit standard toilet fixtures, and some models include a wireless remote for operating the wash feature and warm air dryer. Mark Cuban is among a group of investors to provide $1.3 million of Series A financing, awarded in late 2005, to the San Francisco company.

Wireless overflow monitor

AquaOne Technologies' anti-overflow device, the H2Orb, is an electronic shut-off valve that works in conjunction with sensors placed in a toilet bowl and water tank. The sensors monitor water level changes, and when they detect leaks or overflows, the H2Orb can automatically shut off water flow. In addition, using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the H2Orb can communicate wirelessly with the sensors and send a signal to a security system, pager or e-mail account when there's an issue that requires attention.

Japanese homebuilder Daiwa House Industry collaborated with Toto to design the Intelligent Toilet , which doubles as an in-home health monitor. The design includes devices for measuring sugar levels in urine, blood pressure, body fat and weight.

The Friendly Rest Room combines a slew of high-tech features including a contactless smart card to store users' preferences, voice activation interface, and sensor systems for detecting falls and emergency situations. Users can control settings including seat height and tilt with a remote control or voice-activated commands. Researchers affiliated with Vienna University of Technology in Austria conceived the Friendly Rest Room as a way to provide greater independence to elderly and disabled people who might otherwise rely on assistance from a caregiver to use a toilet.

Music and LED lights distinguish the Alauno from Matsushita Electric Industrial. It's a tankless toilet with an automated self-cleaning function; air bubbles in the flush water work to remove stains, company says. For late-night visits, the LED lights let users skip turning on glaring overhead lights.

For customers who don't want to replace their entire toilets, Kohler is offering high-tech toilet seats that add features such as bidet washes, heated seats and deodorizers. Integrated lighting in the C3 seats makes it easy for users to find their way in the dark.

The iCarta+ from Atech Flash Technology combines a toilet paper holder and iPod stereo dock. The wall-mounted holder has four moisture-free speakers, runs on rechargeable batteries and charges the iPod while playing music. It's priced at $89.99, down from its original $129.99 price.

Google's mock plan to deliver a free residential Wi-Fi service, dubbed the Toilet Internet Service Provider (TiSP) project, proposes a network that snakes fiber-optic cable through municipal sewer lines and into users' toilets, where wireless routers would be placed. The 2007 April Fools prank came complete with TiSP schematics. (The prank brings to mind Microsoft's 2003 iLoo proposal to put Internet access in portable public toilets.)

Lucky contest winner Marcia Luhman, 55, of Oro Valley, Ariz. snagged this bathroom setup from plumbing and drain-cleaning service provider Roto-Rooter as part of its "Pimped out John" sweepstakes. The prize includes a Kohler Cimarron toilet, Philips 20-inch flat panel LCD TV, Gateway EMachine laptop, Xbox 360 gaming system, Philips DVD player (with Star Wars DVD), Tivo digital video recorder, Avanti refrigerator with a beer tap, and an iPod with a toilet paper-holder docking station. There's also a Roto-Rooter emergency button, bike pedal exercise system and electric cup warmer/cooler. Luhman won the prize on National Plumber's Day, April 25, 2007

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.