Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Replacement Toilet Lids and Seats - This could be the biggest advance in toilet design in over a hundred years - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

Orca helix toilet
CC BY 2.0 Ivan Gochko with his Orca Helix toilets/ Lloyd Alter

The Orca Helix moves up and down so that it is easy to get on and off when high, easy on the body when low.
Many things have changed in the last hundred years, but one thing that has hardly changed at all is the toilet. And as we have been saying on TreeHugger for what feels like a hundred years, it's all wrong. Our bodies are designed to squat, yet instead, we sit on 14 inch high seats, which actually makes it hard to poop. As we get older, or fatter, people have trouble even getting on a 14 inch seat and buy "comfort height" toilets, which make it even harder to poop. It is exactly the wrong thing to do, causing constipation, haemorrhoids and worse.
Ivan pondering toiletsIvan pondering toilets / Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
Four years ago, inventor Ivan Gochko thought about the problems his aging mother was having and started working on a new toilet design that would address these problems. His toilet would move up and down, so that one could get on it when it was high, and then the toilet could be lowered to 10 inches from the floor. The fancy model also tilted forward and 45 degrees to each side. It also had a scrubber to sanitize the seat, a bidet jet and ultraviolet disinfecting of the bowl. It looks like some toilet-sized transformer. (It's the one on the right that Ivan is pondering.)
Orca helix toiletOrca Helix toilet/ Lloyd Alter/CC BY 2.0
But getting those three axes of movement was expensive, and the big, important move is vertical, so Ivan has introduced the Orca Helix, a simpler model that moves up and down, from 10 inches to 21 inches. It can hold up to 300 pounds and change positions in fifteen seconds. It's a more elegant design, with the bowl moving up and down around a cylinder that encloses the vacuum pump and motors. It fits right over a standard toilet ring, you just screw it into the floor and plug it in to cold water and electricity. Ivan has just launched a Kickstarter to raise development funds; here's the video:

It still has the fancy sanitizing features (now built into the lid), scrubbing the seat and using ultraviolet light in the bowl. The Orca Helix uses "patented vacuum assisted technology for flushing, which will cut your flushed water to under 0.6 gallons. An average toilet uses 3.6 gallons of water with every flush." It also has a bidet but no dryer, which Ivan thinks is unsanitary.
kira toilet image
Back in the sixties, Alexander Kira designed a toilet around human ergonomics rather than plumbing, with the seat just 9 inches from the floor. It never caught on, being too radical a switch. TreeHugger has also shown squatty potties and other toilet modifications that put people into a squatting position. These require some level of flexibility and agility to use. Kira also thought it needed a separate urinal because the low bowl is easy for a man to miss.
But the Orca Helix doesn't have those issues. You can get onto it easily when it is high, and drop it as low as you want. It does all the heavy lifting. When it is up at its maximum height, it is hard for men to miss when they pee.
Our bodies are designed so that when we are sitting or standing, the puborectalis muscle holds our poop in. The closer we get to squatting, the straighter it is and the easier it is to poop. The worst thing we can do, especially for older people, is to get a "comfort height" toilet. In fact, the lower the better.
toilet composite image© Orca Helix
That's why Ivan Gochko's Orca Helix really is one of the most interesting innovations in toilet design in the last hundred years. It's the best of both worlds. Get more information at the Orca Helix website.
by Lloyd Alter

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Replacement Toilet Lids and Seats - ‘Eco’ toilet on Mount Everest - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

Peak break: A file photo shows discarded climbing equipment and rubbish scattered around Camp 4 of Mount Everest.
Peak break: A file photo shows discarded climbing equipment and rubbish scattered around Camp 4 of Mount Everest.   | Photo Credit: AFP

The waste will be collected and brought down the hill

Climbers with pressing needs on Mount Everest will soon find an “eco-friendly” toilet at a Chinese campsite 7,028 metres (23,058 feet) above sea level in an ongoing campaign to deal with the peak’s waste problem.
Decades of commercial mountaineering have turned Mount Everest into the world’s highest rubbish dump as an increasing number of big-spending mountaineers pay little attention to the ugly footprint they leave behind.
Fluorescent tents, discarded climbing equipment, empty gas canisters and even human excrement pollute the well-trodden route to the summit of the 8,848-metre peak.
During the climbing season this spring, a Chinese expedition company will add what state media dubbed an “eco-friendly” loo at the higher campsite on the northern slope in Tibet. “The toilet makes it easy to collect human waste produced by the climbers as there is a barrel with rubbish bags underneath the toilet,” Xinhua quoted Pema Tinley, deputy secretary general of the Tibet Mountaineering Association, as saying.
The waste will be collected and brought down the mountain. Similar facilities have been installed at lower camps, including at the 5,200-metre north base camp, in previous years, according to Xinhua.

Useful to farmers

The waste from the base camp is taken away daily and is provided to local farmers to use as fertiliser, the news agency reported in February, citing observations by its reporter and a member of the mountaineering management team.
The temporary toilets will be removed at the end of the climbing season.
Governments on both sides of the mountain have been battling the human waste and trash left by an increasing number of climbers.
In February, China banned non-climbers from accessing its Everest base camp in Tibet in an attempt to clean up its side of the mountain.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Replacement Toilet Lids and Seats - Using Physics To Build a Quieter Airplane Toilet - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

Going to the bathroom is one thing that ties all of humanity together—even when we're at cruising altitude. But toilets on planes are often cramp and very loud. While space remains an everlasting issue when traveling 30,000 feet in the air, sound is something science is trying to tackle.
After two years, a team of BYU researchers have developed a a vacuum-assisted toilet approximately half as loud as the regular airplane toilet.
"People have told us they don't want their kids to be scared to use the bathroom on a flight," says lead researcher Kent Gee, BYU professor of physics, speaking in a press statement. "So, we've used good physics to solve the problem."
Commode research has been mostly stagnant for the last quarter of a century. Longtime flyers might know of two eras—the "blue water" period, where chemical pouches known as SkyKem have kept things clean, or when toilets are powered by vacuum flush technology.
One advantage of a vacuum flush toilet is that it keeps the plane slightly light. But that's come with a negative side effect of a loud noise occurring every time a person flushes. How to keep that advantage while making the airplane less intrusive? It's a challenge. The loud sound from the toilets doesn't come any machinery, but from the fact that the partial vacuum flush is operating at such high altitudes.
According to Gee and her fellow scientist Scott Sommerfeldt, an air-water mix in vacuum-assisted toilets travels at speeds faster than 300 miles per hour. Disturbing a flow at that speed generates a loud of sound. On a crowded flight, that noise can make situations less-than-ideal, and quieter cabins have only exacerbated the issue.
As with any engineering problem, the BYU team broke down the commodes into separate parts. There's the initial noise level peak, which is associated with the flush valve opening. Then the process moves on to an intermediate noise level plateau, when the valve is being fully opened. And finally, there's noise level peak which is associated with the flush valve closing.
Broken down into a process, researchers decided to add additional piping to increase the distance between the toilet bowl and the flush valve. Then, they changed the pipe attachment at the bowl towards a gradual bend, as opposed to a 90-degree angle leading to a harsh cutoff. Tests showed that the newly improved toilets dropped down to 16 decibels during the flush valve opening and in between 5 to 10 decibels with a fully open valve.
"It's a great mix between physics and engineering," says grad student Michael Rose, lead author on the team's most recent vacuum-assisted tech publication in Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. "The toilet is much quieter and now kids won't think they're going to get sucked out."
The team plans on sticking to toilets for now—they've already acquired three patents on the technology. But looking forward, they could see potential uses in locations as varied as cruise ships to low-income housing.
"At the end of the day, this is about using science to improve a user experience," Gee said. "It's an important part of making flights more comfortable for customers."
We could use all the help we can get.
by David Grossman

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Replacement Toilet Lids and Seats - Japanese Toilet Makes Car Noises To Cover Up Bathroom Sounds - This Old Toilet 800-658-4521

Good news, if you're someone who gets nervous about going for a number two in public, a toilet in Japan will allow you to play the sounds of racing cars to cover up the sound of any unpleasantness that might be going on.

Yes, that's right. The toilet has been installed at - rather aptly - the Suzuka International Racing Course in Mie Prefecture.

That's where they have a load of motor racing, including the Formula 1 Japanese Grand Prix.
Credit: Asiawire
Credit: Asiawire
This unique public facility has is located within one of the service areas of the course and is fitted with a touch activated speaker that lets you play the noise of many racing cars careering around a track.
That means that you've got a cover in case you accidentally let out something you didn't mean to in the process of doing your business, or any noises that might ensue when whatever you're excreting hits the water.
I mean, heaven forbid you sound like you're having a shit when you're actually having a shit, right?
Credit: Asiawire
Credit: Asiawire
That's a bit harsh, it can be an embarrassing and anxiety-ridden activity even in the comfort of your own home.
In fact, this sort of device is actually pretty common out in Japan. They actually offer a variety of methods by which to cover up the sound of your bowel movements. They're called 'otohime buttons' in case you're interested.
Ordinarily, the toilet just makes a continual flushing sound that allows you to get on with your business in peace, but obviously with this being a world famous racetrack they decided to try out something different.
Credit: Asiawire
Credit: Asiawire
It's not just the soundtrack that is racing themed, either. They've got pictures of motorbikes on the walls, and a racing suit hung up, too. Oh, and there is just a racing car inside the bogs.
That's totally normal in Japan, it would seem.
Suzuka is one of the world's premier racing venues and has been an integral part of the Formula One circuit for the past 32 years. It held the first Japanese Grand Prix back in 1987. That makes it one of the oldest remaining tracks on the list.
Credit: Asiawire
Credit: Asiawire
Perhaps this will be the start of a trend amongst the world's premier sporting venues. Imagine your poo at the All England Club during Wimbledon being masked by the sounds of grunting and fervent racquet bashing.
Or the sounds of scrumming down accompanying your Twickenham shite during a Six Nations match.
A guy can dream, can't he?
by Tom Wood