Flush too far? Smart toilet lifted the lid because of medical privacy issues | Instant News


LONDON, April 7 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – A smart toilet can offer a mini health check every time you sit down, scientists say on Tuesday, but privacy activists and potential users say the idea doesn’t suit them.

The device will identify users through rectal scanning using a camera tucked under a chair before examining their waste for disease markers including early signs of cancer, the U.S. leadership team said. who developed a prototype.

“We know it looks strange, but apparently, your anal mold is unique,” said Sanjiv Gambhir, a professor of radiology at Stanford University, who led the work on the project.

“Smart toilets are the perfect way to make use of data sources that are normally ignored … Everyone uses the bathroom – absolutely no one avoids it – and that increases its value as a disease detection device.”

A set of gadgets installed in a toilet bowl identifies users and monitors their savings for signs of poor health that can be shared with their doctors, say researchers in the scientific journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.

Such devices can become commonplace at home, said Gambhir, because consumers are embracing health monitoring devices such as smart watches and internet-connected home appliances.

But many are worried about throwing away their privacy, the researchers found in a survey of 300 people to assess acceptance.

Three out of 10 respondents said they did not want to use a smart toilet, with only about half reporting they would be “somewhat” or “very” comfortable with it.

The most frequently reported concern is about privacy and data security, the researchers found, which said information collected would be stored in a secure cloud-based system.

Despite the guarantee, privacy campaigners expressed concern about security breaches.

“Health data contain among the most sensitive and revealing information about anyone,” Edin Omanovic, director of advocacy at the London-based International Privacy charity, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“Linking it with someone’s biometric ID risks exposing intimate details to third parties, either through sharing opaque data or security weaknesses that leave the back door open.” (Reporting by Sonia Elks @soniaelks and Umberto Bacchi; Editing by Katy Migiro. Please give credit to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the Thomson Reuters charity, which covers the lives of people around the world who are struggling to live free or fair lives. Visit http: / /news.trust.org)

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