Thanks to technology the toilet and bath are no longer the space for cleansing rituals, they have transformed into personal spas and entertainment hubs
one thing that’s common to all humans irrespective of gender, ethnicity, views or status, is that they all need to go to the toilet. However, for many years the washroom didn’t really change much, apart from mild aesthetics that followed design trends of the year. A toilet, basin and possibly a urinal – this comprised the standard layout for years before technology stepped in. Cut to today. The average washroom these days has a huge amount of automation built into it, be it for flushing or drying or air-freshening. At every stage of the lavatorial process, technology is lending its hand.
“Technology is dramatically changing the bathroom landscape. Compare this with 50 years ago when we had the British make Shanks cast iron 20-litre flush tank with chain, to today’s concealed flush system operated electronically, or to the single flow GI shower hung through exposed piping, or the tiles and other cladding that have changed the aesthetics altogether. Certainly, technology has played an immense role in making the bathroom experience more convenient, hygienic, and an added pleasure,” exclaims Gautam Ghosal, head of Indian operations at Schell GmbH & Co KG.
Everything in the washroom has been conclusively touched by technology. The water systems, the surfaces, sanitary materials, glasses, etc; everything is enabled to do much more than just the conventional function. So the floor and wall tiles are also destroying bacteria. The showers, with music, lights and water hammers, are providing therapy. The faucets are protecting users from scalding by moderating water temperature.
Thanks to touch-less technology, it’s entirely possible to walk into a washroom and not touch anything (apart from your own clothes), wave a hand over a button to flush the toilet, initiate the tap, soap and dry hands, before walking out and being greeted with a burst of scented smells from a timed air freshener. Indeed, technology has paved the way for the kind of luxurious and spa-like bathrooms that have become a part of contemporary expectation.
So, while there’s a strong desire for design and lifestyle brands, technology is topping the list when it comes to buying, feels Asutosh Shah, managing director of Duravit India Pvt Ltd. “Technology is being used in the bathroom because it makes sense and enhances the comfort and well being of people. For instance, the SensoWash shower-toilet seat designed by Philippe Starck is replete with pioneering technology. A stainless steel spray arm with three shower types performs the function of a bidet. Water temperature, water volume and nozzle position can all be individually adjusted. Feeling clean and fresh, the next stage is the warm, drying air.”
Here are some much talked about technologies in the bathroom space:
With a connected shower-head, the shower can be timed to turn on at a specific time each day, or to automatically detect when an individual is within range and turn itself on to a pre-set temperature. Smart shower-heads can automatically change the water flow based on where one is standing to avoid wasting extra water. Such showers can also track how much water is being used and provide notifications. This technology is ideal for the eco-conscious homeowner, and even better for a gym or hotel that’s seeking ways to reduce water consumption.
Many public restrooms are already using hands-free, motion-controlled soap dispensers, but next gen dispensers can actually track how often the dispensers are used, and trigger automated actions based on the data.
With the modern connected bathroom it’s possible to track when a bathroom is occupied remotely and display its status and wait time in other areas of the building, or even on a mobile application.
So as to create a perfect shower experience, technology such as programmable shower would allow setting of the water temperature to the exact degree, set the strength and position of the water stream, speakers that play favorite tunes while being connected to a device through Bluetooth capabilities, and chromatherapy through the use of LED lights built into the faucets.
Tub Sound System
Besides the high-functioning whirlpool and hydrotherapy tubs, there is a tub that works as its own sound system. When the tub is empty, the system works like simple stereo, filling the room with sound; but when the tub is full, one can enjoy a relaxing bath not only to the sound of one’s favorite tunes, but through the vibration the music sends throughout the tub, creating an enhanced massage feature to the bathing experience.
A hands-free faucet not only helps stay clear of infections or illness by the reduced hand-to-knob contact, it can also be a great way to conserve water and help the environment while cutting down on the water bill.
Similar to the sound system tub, modern technology brings the LED tub that can light up the bathroom with subtle luxury. The LED tub is all set to replace the classic candle-lit bath and provide bathroom with a fresh, sophisticated vibe.
Nobody likes cleaning the toilet; with modern technology, one can now invest in a toilet that cleans itself with every flush, keeping it clean and sparkly for longer periods of time between cleaning cycles. Other toilets feature self-closing lids and toilet seats so that the issue of leaving the toilet seat up is never a problem again.
With increasing technology updates, there are water-proof televisions that help catch up on news or watch evening show without wasting time anytime.
Similar to a traditional towel warmer, these warming drawers keep towels nice and warm until you are finished bathing and ready to use them. Many of the warming drawers come with temperature adjustments.
Drawing on predictions by designers and futurologists, a report compiled for bathroom company Ideal Standard suggests that for those looking for a more relaxing environment, the rest room of the future could also use new haptic technology to change the way the floor feels under foot. Bathers stepping out of their bath could programme their floor to replicate the feeling of soft sand, warm Mediterranean stone or even snow if they desire. The floor could also be made to become stickier when bathers’ have wet feet. Scents could also be piped into the bathroom according to the users’ mood while screens could project images of a peaceful backdrop. The report goes on to envisage that walls could be moulded to produce washbasins, taps and lavatories as they are needed!
In the following pages we bring you a few innovations in the washroom space.