Thursday, October 8, 2009

Really Cool Ideas for 'the Bathroom of the Future' - Some Might Actually Work

"Bathrooms of the Future" (September 26, 2009)

"Ever wonder how tomorrow’s bathrooms would look like? Will they be radically different from the ones we have today? What technologies would these futuristic bathrooms incorporate?

Here are some concepts that could give you some idea about what is in store....

"...Here is another concept by designer Young Sang Eun that lays emphasis on hygiene. What is special about this design is that on one side it features a urinal and the other a sit-down commode. With the flip of a switch the design is capable of swiveling around. It self-sanitizes using Steam and UV. No more dirty toilet seats...."

Okay: That design looks simple enough, mechanically, to be practical. And the idea of sterilizing a toilet's surfaces with steam and ultraviolet radiation is a good one: I've cleaned enough toilets to understand how easily micro-critters grow there.

The only down side I see to Young Sang Eun's design is the steam and the UV. To actually sterilize a surface, that steam would have to be real steam: water at or above the boiling point. "Live steam" is another name. And it seems to me that the jolt of UV radiation necessary would be, well, noticeable.

It's not the power bills I'm concerned about. There'd have to be really good fail-safes on the 'cleaning' cycle. Think about jets of steam and lethal radiation cutting in, when you're using that toilet.

Designer Jang Woo-seok's idea (there's a pretty good photo and diagram in the post) of channeling waste water from the sink into the toilet tank has merit - although I think you'd either need a really good filter, to keep hair, dirt, and miscellaneous sediment from collecting in the toilet tank. Still, it's a good idea. Even if water doesn't "become a precious commodity in the future." My household is in the income bracket where the amount of water we use makes a difference. Municipal water's cheap, here in central Minnesota: but it's not free.

Then, there's the "Phyto-Purification Bathroom" - a great idea, for city folks. The idea of taking a shower on an indoor analog of a sandy beach, complete with rushes, must seem idyllic. The photo's rather attractive, by the way. As I wrote earlier, though, I live in central Minnesota. I spent quite a few summer on and near sandy beaches and stands of rushes. They look great, they're fun to be around: and I really wouldn't want to take a shower in one. Those little 'ecosystems' are simply teeming with life - quite few examples of which would just love to take up residence on (and, in some cases, in) my body. Thanks, but no thanks.

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