Technology Goes to the Toilet

Japanese fixtures warm, clean, massage and disguise noises
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 15, 2007 8:59 AM CDT

(Newser) – In a country obsessed with both technology and cleanliness, it should be no surprise that  Japanese toilets set the standard for high-tech hygienic services, ranging from pre-warmed seats to artificial flushing sounds that drown out bodily noises without wasting water. More than 60% of all Japanese households are now equipped with smart bathrooms, called "washlets," Time reports, and they're catching on worldwide.

Offering five different cleansing options (front, rear, oscillating, pulsating and soft), an air drier, air purifier and, best of all, a massage function, the Neorest 600 costs a mere $5,000. Its manufacturer, Toto, sees America as its next market. Meanwhile, another firm is working on a toilet exceeding mere hygiene—it will offer pregnancy tests and glucose tests for diabetics.