Stanford researchers have created a smart toilet that can detect various diseases and identify users by scanning their anus.
Sanjiv Gambhir and his team of scientists have a special gadget attached to an ordinary toilet. This technology uses motion detection to taste urine and feces, spreading various tests that can identify various diseases, including some colorectal and urological cancers.
“Our concept has been around for 15 years,” Gambhir said Stanford Medical News. “When I talk about it, people will laugh because that seems like an interesting idea, but it’s also a bit strange.”
Urine and stool samples are captured in the video and then assessed based on stool consistency and “urodynamics,” or flow rate, flow time, and total volume. Toilets also use urinalysis strips to measure criteria such as white blood cell counts, protein levels and consistent blood contamination. Today’s toilets can measure 10 different biomarkers, showing problems that are as simple as an infection or as serious as kidney failure.
This technology then sends data to a secure cloud-based system. In theory, if the toilet detects something abnormal, the application will send a warning to the user’s health care team.
Gambhir said data security was very important.
“We have taken stringent steps to ensure that all information is not identified when sent to the cloud and that information – when sent to health care providers – is protected under HIPAA,” he told Stanford Medicine News.
To distinguish between many people who use the same toilet, the team developed an identification system: anal scan.
“We know it looks strange, but apparently, your anal results are unique,” Gambhir said. “The point is to provide appropriate individual health feedback, so we need to ensure toilets can distinguish between users.”
However, the scan is only used for recognition and cannot be seen by patients or their doctors.
Gambhir and his colleagues published their findings in “Natural Biomedical Engineering“On Monday after completing a pilot study with 21 participants. Abstract refers to smart toilets as “easy-to-use hardware and software for long-term analysis of user waste through data collection and human health models.”
Smart toilets are considered continuous health monitoring, technology classes including Apple Watch and Fitbits. Ongoing health monitoring can provide patients with several chronic diseases of independence, enabling them to monitor their condition at home. The market is developing and is expected surpassed the value of $ 67 million in 2022.
“However, the problem of a smart toilet is that it’s not like a wearable product, you can’t take it off,” Gambhir said. “Everyone uses the bathroom – absolutely must not avoid it – and that increases its value as a disease detection device.”
According to Stanford Medicine News, the device could be very useful for people with a genetic predisposition to conditions such as prostate cancer, kidney failure or irritable bowel syndrome.
Going forward, Gambhir and his team hope to improve technology and increase the number of participants in their studies. While the number of people who have tested the toilet is limited, the team surveyed 300 potential users to measure “user acceptance.” More than half of the survey participants said that they felt comfortable with the idea of a smart toilet.
Contact Emma Talley at emmat332 ‘at’ stanford.edu.
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