Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Toilet Inactivity Alarm

Are you alive in there?
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When visiting the toilets in the office, I'm often left with a slight uneasy feeling if one of the cubicles remains locked and silent throughout my visit. Obviously the most likely reason is that someone is in there about their business, discreetly remaining silent while I'm present - but what if they have lapsed into unconsciousness? They may not be found until the cleaners arrive late in the evening. I also seem to recall reading that heart attacks often occur during toilet use (what a way to go).

The Toilet Inactivity Alarm borrows from a device which I believe is used worldwide by railways. Here in the UK it's known officially as the Driver's Safety Device, and unofficially as the Dead Man's Handle. Basically a buzzer sounds every minute or so, and if the driver fails to respond by pushing a button within a few seconds the brakes are applied on the basis that the driver may be unconscious. A similar device in each toilet cubicle would be enabled when the door was locked, and if the buzzer was not acknowledged would sound an alarm in the office, with a light flashing outside the door of the appropriate toilets. For hygiene reasons the cancel button in the cubicle should probably be replaced either by a pedal or by the kind of proximity sensor which is often used in public toilets, for similar reasons, to trigger the flush.

Steve Adams, Mar 27 2008

they could be working in there! http://images.jupit.../93/11/23501193.jpg
[xandram, Mar 27 2008]

59 of the Coolest Toilet Signs from around the World http://losu.org/wor...pes-of-toilet-signs
41) is especially for [ConsulFlaminicus] [Parmenides, Mar 28 2008]

[link]






       I always poke my head under the door in this circumstance, just to enquire whether the occupant is OK.
ConsulFlaminicus, Mar 27 2008
  

       Elvis might still be with us.
bneal27, Mar 27 2008
  

       [ConsulFlaminicus]?   

       I use a bucket of water.
skinflaps, Mar 27 2008
  

       What, just beside your desk, [skinflaps]? Don't your co-worker's stares put you off?
lostdog, Mar 27 2008
  

       I'm talking about afte..
skinflaps, Mar 27 2008
  

       I have come across an alarm system for the elderly which triggered if their toilet at home remained unflushed for twenty-four hours. Not for public toilets though.
nineteenthly, Mar 27 2008
  

       Proximity sensor: Presumably automatically activated by weight on seat, once the door is locked?   

       It could also occasionally (randomly, but within certain criteria) play sampled KER-SPLOSH and grunting sounds, to reassure bystanders that the system is functioning as designed. [+]
Parmenides, Mar 27 2008
  

       When I was at school, some friends and I borrowed the human skeleton from the biology lab, put a pair of old jeans around the ankles and trainers on the feet, left it perched on the porcelain, locked the door and climbed back out.
Never did see that particular cleaner again.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Mar 27 2008
  

       [Absinth] I knew a guy that did this with a whole chicken from the supermarket. He wedged it into the gap in the front of the seat and put a pair of sunglasses on top. he also cut out a little sqaure of newspaper and tucked it under his wings.
nomocrow, Mar 28 2008
  

       An old standby is to say "tap your feet if you're awake."
ye_river_xiv, Mar 29 2008
  
      
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