Microsoft Tries Again with E-Toilet

A couple of years ago the net was agog with news that MicroSoft was issuing the iLoo, a portable toilet with internet access. Alas it turned out to be fairly fragrant vapourware, and never appeared. It also was basically a chemical toilet and not particularly green. Thus we were thrilled to see the new eToilet, which not only "plays music from Zune, surfs the web, and monitors personal hygiene" but is based on a composting toilet. "Americans spend an average of two weeks per year in the bathroom," Microsoft chairman Bill Gates told a group of IT professionals during an invitation-only party following the conclusion of the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. "And as part of Microsoft's efforts to continue to make inroads in the home, we fully plan to capitalize on that time." It appears to be an international joint venture combining the Swedish Multoa Manual with the latest Microsoft software.

The eToilet is not unlike a regular toilet in its basic functions, but includes a 21-inch flat-screen monitor built into the toilet lid itself that swings out on a swivel arm when in use. Many of its functions are activated by touch, and the eToilet contains a proximity sensor that will protect the screen from spray during use or flushing.Additionally, the eToilet's composition gauge will offer web-based dietary recommendations and guidelines based on the physical makeup of the material that is input into the device, and it has a delay mechanism to prevent flushing while someone is in the shower. However, arguably the most intriguing feature of the eToilet is the integration of Microsoft's patented eLoo technology that allows for the activation of remote call features.

"No longer will you need to watch the water climb to dangerous levels just to determine if you have a clog," said Gates. "The eToilet will detect that clog long before it's visible and will have it cleared before you even finish washing your hands."

A number of attendees at the unveiling questioned why Gates didn't use the forum of the CES to make his announcement, since the electronics show lacked the headlines and luster of Apple's iPhone announcement at MacWorld. Gates was noncommittal in his reply, but that didn't sway the positive response by those who tried out the eToilet.

"The features on this thing are unbelievable," said John Biggs of "Not only will its thermostat warm the seat when necessary, but it also puts the seat down when I forget. It's a marriage-saver!"

All remakable features in a composting toilet that uses no water! We hope that it also monitors the quality of the compost, and warns us when it is time to empty it.


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