Research press release


Nature Biomedical Engineering

Biomedical engineering: A ‘smart toilet’ for health monitoring

標準的なトイレに取り付けて使用者の大小便の健康疾患バイオマーカーを追跡することができるハードウエアとソフトウエアのセットについて報告する論文が、Nature Biomedical Engineering に掲載される。自律的に動作するその「スマートトイレ」を用いれば、使用者が自分の健康関連データをモニタリングできるようになり、スクリーニング、診断および患者モニタリング試験も可能になると考えられる。


Sam Gambhirたちは、圧力/モーション・センサー、尿の流れやその基本的生化学組成を分析するための試験紙とビデオカメラ、形状や流動性の臨床尺度に従って大便を分類するためのコンピュータービジョンと機械学習アルゴリズム、水洗レバーに埋め込まれた指紋スキャナーによるバイオメトリクス個人識別を組み合わせたモジュール式トイレシステムを設計した。


A set of hardware and software that can be mounted on standard toilets to track biomarkers of health and disease in the users’ urine and stool is reported in a paper published in Nature Biomedical Engineering. This ‘smart toilet’, which operates autonomously, would enable individuals to monitor data on their health and allow for screening, diagnostic and patient-monitoring studies.

Technology that could repeatedly measure an individual’s health status non-invasively and inexpensively would facilitate the prevention and prediction of disease, as well as more precise diagnoses and treatment decisions. However, most technologies that are used to monitor a person’s health often do not produce actionable data and are poorly integrated within clinical workflows.

Sam Gambhir and colleagues designed a modular toilet system that incorporates pressure and motion sensors; test strips and video cameras for analysing the flow of urine and its basic biochemical composition; computer-vision and machine-learning algorithms for classifying stools according to a clinical scale of their morphology and liquidity; and biometric identification via a fingerprint scanner embedded in the flush lever.

The potential health benefits of the toilet system will need to be assessed in large clinical studies. The system will also need to be optimized with baseline data of the excreta of human populations. Although some of the modules in the proof-of-concept ‘smart toilet’ were built and tested only for sitting toilets and standing male participants, the authors note that future implementations of the toilet system will broaden its use and may include additional clinically relevant biophysical and biochemical assays of human excreta.

doi: 10.1038/s41551-020-0534-9


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