Runaway Robot (toilet)

Instapundit links to an article that calls the automatic flush toilet “THE CRAPPIEST INVENTION EVER”

Now anyone like me who has ever had to clean toilets for a living understands why those providing toilets to the general public would be eager to embrace this new technology but I must say I don’t think it is ready for primetime. By coincidence this weekend I found myself trapped by natures call atop an automated toilet that would flush each time I moved in the slightest. I found it more than a little disturbing to be perched in such a vulnerable position above a device that had developed a mind of its own.

Nevertheless, I must disagree with the idea that the automatic flush toilet is the crappiest invention ever. I say the LOW-FLUSH automatic toilet is the most craptacular.

13 thoughts on “Runaway Robot (toilet)”

  1. The best toilets ever are those European models where you can select either powerful flush or light flush given the situation. I think this actually saves more water than our US low flush models because it eliminates the need for all those extra “courtesy” flushes.

    I’ve actually even seen Euro toilets with self cleaning seats too. How nice!

  2. Automatic urinals, however, are great. At the Denver airport the men’s rooms have no doorknobs, and the urinals and sinks are automatic. One can complete the whole process contacting nothing but himself and the automatically-dispensed paper towel. The latter, at least, comes untouched by human hands.

  3. When we had a half bath installed, state plumbing codes (later federal law) required a low-flush toilet. It didn’t work well, but I’ll spare you the details. We named it after the governor of Massachusetts who had the bright idea: the Dukaka.

  4. All I really want in a public toilet is the ability to flush without touching anything with my hands.

    A floor-mounted flusher would be more usefull than auto-flush…

  5. I agree that it’s nice to be able to get through a public washroom without touching anything. That said, I find it psychologically disorienting when everything is “automatic.” I spend seconds feeling like an idiot, staring at the toilet to make sure it flushes. I wave my hand like an idiot underneath the faucet hoping it’ll start up and trying to decode where it’s reading movement. I’d much rather have a physical connection — I’d feel less like someone being processed through an engineer’s conception. Maybe food-valves are the answer…

  6. I got yer food valve right here, pal.

    Actually, MB’s point applies to many automated devices. Unless they are designed well they can be more trouble than they are worth, and sometimes they are not designed well. I think this is really a user-interface issue rather than an issue of automation vs. non-automation.

  7. But the auto-flush urinal is a GREAT invention. Too many people were too lazy to push the button on the manual urinals, and consequently the bathrooms always smelled.

  8. Some contractors once accidentally cut the power to the student union building on campus. The toilets flushed manually, but I had to walk over to another building to find a sink where I could wash my hands.

    I prefer to keep the water system decoupled from the electrical system as much as possible.

  9. “I prefer to keep the water system decoupled from the electrical system”

    The men’s room in our office building has one fully-manual sink.

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