October 5, 2017
Reinvented Toilets Take on a Lack of Sanitation Access with Internet Connectivity and Waste Processing
contributor: Rob Goodier
Nine startups that are reinventing the toilet have won spots as finalist candidates for the Toilet Board Coalition’s accelerator program. These companies are working to surmount obstacles in the path toward completion of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Six, universal worldwide access to clean toilets. Their solutions include features such as those on LooWat’s toilets that harvest biogas from human waste and convert what’s left over into fertilizer. The nine are listed in the image below. Designers and researchers have been trying to make a better toilet for years and the effort has been reinvigorated with grants from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Opinions vary on whether or not new technology is needed in toilet design, but prototypes and products keep coming on line. Below the image we’ll take a look at an established high-tech toilet designed to outperform public toilets in India.
India’s First Electronic Public Toilet
Eram Scientific claims the title of India’s first electronic public toilet for its Internet-connected “eToilet.” These stainless steel toilets are modular, portable, automated and made to set up on city streets without a sewer line. Eram explains:
“eToilet incorporates full cycle approach in sustainable sanitation by integrating convergence of electronics, mechanical, web-mobile technologies thereby controlling entry, usage, cleaning, exit, and remote monitoring capabilities with multiple revenue options.
“The insertion of a coin opens the door of the eToilet for the user, switches on a light—thus saving energy—and even directs the person with audio commands. The toilets are programmed to flush 1.5 liters of water after 3 minutes of usage or 4.5 liters if usage is longer. It can also be programmed to clean the platform with a complete wash down after every 5 or 10 persons use the toilet.”
Eram, a social enterprise based in Thiruvananthapuram in the Indian state of Kerala, is no startup. The company has experience building its products. To date, Eram has delivered more than 2100 toilets thus far and built more than 500 sewage treatment plants to process the waste its toilets are gathering. The video below explains.