Home: Toilet: Seat: Up or Down
Intelligent Toilet Seat   (+6, -2)  [vote for, against]
A gender-dividing problem solved by Arse-Detection technology

Many men have been trained to automatically place the toilet seat down when they have finished urinating. If the next use of the same toilet is another male urination, the consequent secondary toilet-seat manipulation to move the seat to its upright position, combined with the problem-causing primary manipulation, means that enough energy to lift a toilet seat up and down has been completely wasted.

Face recognition technology is improving all the time. Yet we don't need anything so advanced to solve this problem. We just need a system which knows what an arse is when it sees one, which is a far more trivial problem. This means that as the posterior is bared in preparation for a seated excretion, the Intelligent Toilet will detect this and rapidly lower the seat. Using similar algorithms, it will detect when it is about to be used by somebody standing, returning the seat to an upright position.
-- -alx, Jun 19 2001

Schrodinger's Toilet Seat http://www.halfbake...27s_20Toilet_20Seat
Inspired by this, esp. beauxeault's annotation [-alx, Jun 19 2001, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Toilet Mounted Light http://www.arkon.com/gadgets.html
Lights up red when seat's up, green when it's not [Acme, Dec 30 2004]

What's the protocol for vomiting ? The detector would have to be able to recognise the difference between faces and arses.
-- lubbit, Jun 19 2001

The vomiting protocol would be to leave the seat wherever it is currently positioned, which is the strategy most people employ as they dash to the toilet just in time to spew down it. Telling an arse from a face (not-an-arse) shouldn't be a problem except in the most unfortunate of cases.
-- -alx, Jun 19 2001

If the sensors haven't the range to detect arseness before the hovering bottom descends into the arc of the toilet seat's swing, then the result will be a hearty slap on the lower back and a cold porcelain surprise for the arse. Perhaps an extensible or pivoting toilet seat could be used? Or I guess the user could simply waggle his/her bum at the toilet until the seat fell. Yes, after re-reading the idea, the last bit seems more sensible.
-- Dog Ed, Jun 19 2001

I did think about this problem and considered having the toilet seat slide in and out of some hidden compartment instead of up and down. Hopefully, though, it should have enough time to detect the arse and move the seat, as the trousers are dropping or whatever, before the user attempts to seat themselves.
-- -alx, Jun 20 2001

Why not take the brains out of this device and just have a button that lifts and drops the seat at the user's request ? Simpler, cheaper, with (presumably) 100% hit-rate. That's hit-rate.
-- lubbit, Jun 20 2001

[waugsqueke] I haven't proposed a natural state of the seat, and my system will only act if the current state requires changing. A default in this case may lead to energy wastage.

If (detect-someone) If not(arse) then seat->up else seat->down

[lubbit] Because it would still leave women room to moan that men leave the seat up all the time. It's not exactly a gargantuan effort requiring the likes of Heracles to put the seat down in the first place - what makes you think the complainants would find pressing a button much more acceptable?
-- -alx, Jun 20 2001

Well, it's a gadget isn't it. People press the flush button even though it's not really necessary.
-- lubbit, Jun 20 2001

True enough, but imagine how bad the griping would be if they didn't flush as well as left the seat up...
-- -alx, Jun 20 2001

The additional gravitational potential energy of urine delivered from a standing position could be used to power the device.
-- lubbit, Jun 20 2001

"It would also remove any need for the seat to detect if its state needs changing"

But then you propose detection and changing for when male urination takes place. Unless you are proposing that men move the seat themselves, which is the current faulty system.

"This method allows the minimum amount of seat movement possible."

Surely not? Consider the case where there are two consecutive male urinations - there will have been a wasted down-up movement between them. Only moving when needed is the most energy-efficient means of achieving toilet seat manipulation.
-- -alx, Jun 20 2001

Light Sensor and a Timer - if someone stands in front of the toilet for more than 7 seconds, (try getting it out in less - you'll hurt yourself,) the toilet sit lifts automatically.

Simple technology, no face recognition, no complex arguments, and when you leave it will sense you have gone and put the seat down.
-- CasaLoco, Jun 20 2001

If (aesthete_approaching) then seat->down and lid->down
-- -alx, Jun 20 2001

How about an inflatable toilet seat that could deflate for male urination? Not only would this resolve the issue of seat movement, but: a) The seat could be inflated with warm air on cold mornings b) The seat could be manufactured to be cheap/easily replaceable thus no cleaning required c) The seat could inflate/deflate quite quickly
-- phoenix, Jun 20 2001

Regarding the dilema of "default down" versus "remain in most recent position": I tend to think default down is better, however, -alx's concerns about this being wrong on ocassion may have some merit, particularly in a bachelor pad. This is easily remedied though; if this is truly an "intellegent" toilet seat, as stated in the idea name, it will keep track of whether it is most often used in the up position or the down position. That will then become the default state of the seat, thereby decreasing any waste of energy.
-- PotatoStew, Jun 21 2001

It wouldn't have to be an intelligent toilet seat. It could be a dumb toilet seat wired to a mainframe toilet seat at a remote location.
-- mrthingy, Jun 21 2001

Instead of the whole face recognition thing, you could just have a second lightswitch that controls the up/down position of the seat.
-- AfroAssault, Jun 22 2001

Most toilets have seats and lids for a reason or three--odor and contagion control. A properly used toilet (with lid) would not need this device, as users would either have to lift the lid and/or lid and seat.
-- 1kester, Dec 10 2002

I think it would be better to have a pressure sensor capable of recognising the orientation of your feet. I once had running shoes made and ran over a sensor which showed me a detailed animation of my foot, so it's definitely possible.

Firstly, the sensor would detect a person and raise the lid. Then it would analyse the foot orientation and raise the seat if necessary.

When the sensor detects that the feet have moved away, it will flush the toilet with an appropriate amount of water and lower the seat and lid.

A second safety sensor would be used in the seat to detect children too short to touch the ground when on the seat.

The only drawback I can see is that in a small bathroom the toilet will wave at people as they walk near it.

The less advanced but more practical solution is to install a pedal for lifting the seat. In fact, this could be baked by placing a normal pedal bin next to the toilet and attaching the bin lid to the toilet seat.
-- marklar, Nov 07 2007

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