AI toilets which scan your urine and faeces before you flush could one day ‘pick up on diseases earlier’
- The CEO of a microchip company says toilets could analyse samples in real time
- He says health is moving towards ‘precision medicine’ and diagnosing sooner
- Scientists have already found ways to make the technology work
You may think the bathroom is one of few places you can expect to be left alone.
But toilets may one day be giving health advice by analysing your urine and faeces, a technology boss has claimed.
The chief of a company making computer chips says artificial intelligence will one day analyse people’s waste in real time.
This could save the need for trips to the doctor and pick up on illnesses earlier than people do, said Sanjay Mehrotra, chief executive of Micron Technology.
AI could one day be used in toilets to scan people’s urine and faeces to try and pick up on any diseases or health problems earlier than someone might notice them and go to the doctor
And his claims aren’t so far-fetched – artificial intelligence (AI) is already capable of detecting diabetes or Alzheimer’s disease from scans.
And a Japanese tech company has even invented a smart litterbox to analyse the urine of cats.
‘Medicine is going toward precision medicine and precision health,’ Mr Mehrotra said at the Techonomy conference in San Francisco this week.
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‘Imagine smart toilets in the future that will be analyzing human waste in real time every day. You don’t need to be going to visit a physician every six months.
‘If any sign of disease starts showing up, you’ll be able to catch it much faster because of urine analysis and stool analysis.’
Stool and urine samples are used often in medicine and can help diagnose stomach infections, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, diabetes and sexually transmitted infections.
Sanjay Mehrotra, the CEO of microchip company Micron Technology, said at the Techonomy conference in San Francisco this week that toilets of the future could use artifical intelligence to collect health information about their users
But using smart toilets could one day avoid the need for the inconvenient and potentially embarrassing or messy process of collecting samples yourself.
Toilets fitted with AI technology could analyse urine and faeces in the toilet before they’re flushed, CNET reports, meaning they could be tracked over time so changes picked up quickly.
And the reports could then be uploaded to the internet to be sent to a doctor, potentially saving the time it would take to do more tests.
AI uses technology based on the human brain, which is programmed to recognise patterns and remember them, giving it the ability to learn.
Scientists at Cambridge University revealed in July they have already come up with ways to make toilets test people’s urine for blood sugar and alcohol levels.
Their smart loo could also pick up on whether a person is depressed, pregnant, a smoker or using drugs by testing chemicals in their urine.
This, they say, could detect disease like diabetes earlier and reduce the pressure on health services if simple tests can be done at home.
And a Japanese company in 2015 announced it had created a toilet which could measure someone’s urine flow rate, which can indicate prostate cancer or bladder problems.
Smart toilets already exists in the feline world – tech company Sharp Corp unveiled its smart litter box for cats in June this year.
The litter box uses AI to analyse cats’ urine and track their bodyweight, testing for abnormalities.
The £175 device sends a daily health report for up to three pets to the owner’s smartphone.
WHAT DOES YOUR URINE SAY ABOUT YOU?
The colour of someone’s urine can be an indicator of various health conditions, including dehydration or infection. This is what different colours in the bowl might mean, according to Dr Luke Powles from Bupa Health Clinics:
This is the ideal urine colour and demonstrates a person is sufficiently hydrated, Cosmopolitan reported.
A lighter colour than this indicates the individual is probably drinking more water than they need to.
Although usually harmless, this may cause them to urinate overly frequently.
Amber-coloured urine suggests somebody is dehyrated and should drink water as soon as possible.
Although it may be alarming, green urine is usually harmless and occurs as a result of eating particular foods, such as asaparagus or artifical colourings.
In rare cases, however, green urine is a sign of the rare genetic disease familial hypercalcemia, which causes abnormally high calcium levels in the blood.
Green urine can also occur as a side effect of certain medications.
Red urine is also usually due to eating certain foods, such as beetroot.
Yet, it can also be due to blood, such as during menstruation or, in more serious cases, infections or even cancers.
If people are unable to link their red urine to a food they have eaten recently, they should visit their GP as soon as possible.
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