The Near Futurist

Better Public Toilets

A *really* public toilet!

I’d like to propose some changes to something so fundamental, so part of our every day lives that we often overlook them:  public toilets.  When I say public, I mean any toilet that is used by more than one person regularly (bachelors: there’s no improving your apartment’s toilet until you break out the Fantastik and get a-scrubbing).  These include toilets in public venues, toilets at work, toilets at school, even toilets at home if you plan on more than your immediate family to use them.

OK, a digression: this topic is certainly not the normal fare when one is attempting to look to the future, but hey — as the kid’s book says, “Everyone poops.” Get over it.)

Idea 1: tear away seat covers
Rather than get a seat cover from the dispenser above the toilet, carefully rip it in just the right place, gingerly place on the toilet seat, have it fall in, get another, place it again on the seat, and sit only to find it’s askew and you’re now doing your business at an angle — why not just have tear-away seat covers that the next person can simply remove the first layer, sit, drop the kids off at the pool, then flush and away they go.

Idea 2: child seats
I have three children, and currently going through the joy that is potty training with the last one (sighted: promised land!)  But using a public toilet is always a challenge — a 2-year-old’s body is not designed to use a regular adult toilet.  The solution: fold-down child seats.  They normally stay out of the way for adult use, but come in very handy when rushing your child in for a “hurry, Daddy, hurry!” emergency!

Idea 3: self-raising seats
Baby boomers are getting older, and I’m no spring chicken either.  A nice feature to offer those who have trouble getting into sitting position is a self-raising seat.  These spring-loaded bad boys are elevated and as the toilet user goes to sit, the springs ease the fall down to septic level.  When done with your business, a press of a lever unlocks the seat and raises you back up to semi-standing position.  Just talking about it makes me want to get one, though I’m far from needing it!

Idea 4: foot pedal flushing

OK, we all do it anyway by standing on leg precariously, raising the other leg carefully to hit the flush lever at waist level — why not just put the flush on the floor?  Home versions of this exist, why not create an industrial version that allows the user to simply use their foot to flush?  Germ-free, or at least all the germs on the sole of your shoe.  Just don’t go licking it later.

Do you have any ideas or thoughts about how to improve public toilets?

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