The smart toilet has the technology to interpret the data that’s dripped, dumped, or otherwise flushed to glean insights into health. Urine flow a bit light? That might indicate a problem with the prostate. Blood in the urine? That suggests a urinary tract or kidney infection. Different shapes and textures of waste can point to gastrointestinal problems. The smart toilet can even detect specific molecular signals that flag certain types of cancer or infectious diseases, such as COVID-19.
There’s a lot of potential in the idea, even though its data source is something we think so little of. “Toileting habits are especially sensitive to talk about,” says Seung-min Park, an instructor of urology at Stanford Medicine, who worked with the late Sanjiv Sam Gambhir to develop the smart toilet project. Park now collaborates with professor of urology Joseph Liao, and Nicole Martinez-Martin, an ethicist and assistant professor of pediatrics.