Stanford smart toilet monitors users for signs of disease

Shane McGlaun - Apr 7, 2020, 9:00am CDT
Stanford smart toilet monitors users for signs of disease

Scientists at Stanford Medicine have created a disease-detecting “precision health” toilet that is meant to monitor users for multiple signs of illness. The precision toilet looks for signs of disease via urine and stool analysis. The disease markers the smart bullet can detect include some for cancers, such as colorectal or urological cancers.

Stanford researchers say that a smart toilet of this type would be particularly appealing to individuals who have a genetic predisposition to conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, prostate cancer, or kidney failure. The device would allow them to keep on top of their health without as many visits to the doctor.

The team says that the concept dates back over 15 years. One of the researchers noted that when he would bring up the idea, people would “sort of laugh,” noting that it was an interesting idea but was a bit odd. The smart toilet was part of a pilot study with 21 participants, and that study has completed. The tool used in the study was an ordinary toilet that was outfitted with gadgets inside the bowl.

The tools included a suite of different technologies that use motion sensing to deploy a mixture of tests that assess the health of any deposits. Urine samples underwent physical and molecular analysis, and stool assessment was based on physical characteristics. The data the toilet extracted was automatically sent to a secure, cloud-based system for safekeeping. The team says that in the future the system can integrate into any healthcare provider record-keeping system for easy access

The team says that the smart toilet provides continuous health monitoring as everyone goes to the bathroom. The technology is an add-on that can be integrated into any standard porcelain bowl. The team describes it as “sort of like buying a bidet add-on” that’s added to an existing toilet. Among the tests the technology provides are urodynamics, urinalysis trips, consistent blood contamination, white blood cell count, protein levels, and more. The toilet can measure ten different biomarkers.

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