An international team of researchers recently developed a fully automatic sensor package that transforms every normal toilet into the Tesla Model S of dressers.
The system was developed to monitor your health and has almost a dozen sensors that can do everything from performing an on-site sample test (it checks your poop and urine for consistency, color, glucose, and red blood cell count) to Timing your movements. For security reasons, cameras and a fingerprint sensor are even installed.
We wanted to delve deeper into the myriad of diseases that could potentially be used as a life-saving and much-needed diagnostic device. Then I saw the following diagram in the team's work (yellow arrow added by TNW):
And despite my best journalistic instincts, I somehow focused on the mysterious "anal printing" -Sensor:
First we excluded this as an April Fool's joke. The paper from which this diagram is derived was submitted to Nature in December 2019 and published on April 6. It seems real. According to research, this is a two-factor identification method in combination with fingerprints:
Our system also uses fingerprints and a characteristic method of using anal wrinkles (the characteristic feature of the anoderm, here referred to as analprint) as biometric identifiers to identify the securely link data collected with the identity of the user.
Seriously, we don't invent this. The researchers suggest two-factor authentication with your finger and your ass. Here is another excerpt from the study:
Another identification method – using the user-specific anal impression – was therefore designed and implemented in the toilet system. A scanner was installed to record a short video clip of the user's anus. The ROI – the anus – was then identified using an image recognition algorithm.
Just think about it: somewhere an AI had to spend hundreds or thousands of hours training their models on pictures of who knows how many human anus so it could learn to do well enough in this job to do it in the wild. Remember when the machines rise.
However, it turns out that the analprint scanner may no longer be displayed in a future commercial version of the intelligent toilet. The researchers found that people don't seem to like having their anal prints taken. According to the study (focus on TNW):
The vast majority of the concerns of the participants concerned the protection of privacy and the implementation of data security in the toilet system. Interestingly, we observed a statistically significant preference for non-camera-based modules (combining the urine analysis and fingerprint modules over the uroflowmetry, stool analysis and anal print modules; P <0.0001, t-test with two samples). The most accepted module is urine analysis while the least preferred module is analprint .
File under: Did you really have to do science to find out this part?
The researchers also found that gender played no role in the preferences of the participants … except when it came to poop. Those who identified as women were less "cheap" for the stool sample module than those who identified as men.
Okay, there's a lot going on in this story, but the bottom line is that this toilet is a good thing. Regarding our health, we are literally flushing out some of the most medically valuable data we could possibly produce in the toilet every day. If we could somehow use the power of this poop as a diagnostic factor, it could potentially change the course of human life expectancy within a generation.
Still I don't know anything about anal printing. Maybe we could use this technology that instead uses our seated buttocks as a biometric marker?
Published April 6, 2020 – 23:10 UTC