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.
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 an indiegogo site where you can contribute or pre-order; 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.
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.
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.