FutureWire - futurism and emerging technology

Friday, May 26, 2006

More Tattle-Tale Toilets

Toilets -- urinals in particular -- are getting quite interactive these days.  Last year we profiled a conceptual urinal that screens users for STDs.  Now, bars in New York's Nassau County are piloting urinal drain covers that play messages discouraging patrons from drinking too much.

The Wizmark Urinal Communicator (gotta love that name!) is paid for with DWI fines and is being distributed to bars for free.  When the device senses a "visitor" (their word) nearby, it plays a 15-second message:  "Hey you. Yea You, having a few drinks? Then listen up!  Think you had one to many then it's time to call a cab or call a sober friend for a ride home. It sure is safer and a hell of a lot cheaper than a DWI. Make the smart choice tonight, don't drink and drive."

Of course, anything that discourages overindulgence and potentially saves lives is worthwhile.  But one must wonder about the next logical steps for such devices, such as detecting the presence of substances in urine and automatically reporting them.

Sources:  WCBS Newsradio 880, Techdirt