The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced scientists to develop new testing methods to detect various diseases in their early stages, and some of them use unorthodox ways to get the job done.
Professor from the Stanford University School of Medicine Dr Sanjiv Gambhir together with his colleagues has developed a smart toilet that may be able to detect multiple diseases, collecting and analysing stool and urine samples from patients. The unusual research was published in the journal Nature Biomedical Engineering.
“Our concept dates back well over 15 years… When I’d bring it up, people would sort of laugh because it seemed like an interesting idea, but also a bit odd”, Gambhir explained.
According to him, to recognise different users and keep their data secure the toilet uses fingerprints – and, strangely, images of the anus.
“We know it seems weird, but as it turns out, your anal print is unique”, the researcher explained. “The scans – both finger and non-finger – are used purely as a recognition system to match users to their specific data”.
The device inside the bowl collects data about human waste and sends information about it to a secure cloud server for logging purposes. Then it provides a biochemical analysis of the samples, which, according to the research, is able to detect 10 different types of diseases, including kidney failure, bladder cancer, and various infections.