Back(side) To The Future - A Toilet That Does Everything
With the TOTO Washlet S400, Japanese designers have shown us what the future of bathroom breaks look like while making us feel uncomfortably backward in the process.
The design of the S400, TOTO's newest and most advanced "washlet " sold in both Japan and by TOTO USA , seems like something out of a forthcoming Robocop epic or the sequel to Demolition Man yet can be fitted to most any current toilet using existing plumbing & electrical connections. Although designed to accommodate Japanese fastidiousness and what WE perceive to be an obsession with cleanliness, the TOTO S400 actually makes perfect sense as the natural progression towards hands-free, paper-free, ultra-clean ablutions.
Yes, I did say paper-free, and the makers of Charmin et al should be afraid - very afraid. After all, who needs toilet paper when the S400 performs all wiping & drying functions with the push of a button - really the only time you'll use your hands after closing the bathroom door. A feather-light touch on the wall-mounted console causes a wand to emerge from beneath the pre-heated seat, from which a warm, pulsating spray gently and effectively cleans the designated area (there is also a "front" function for the fairer sex). Next, the dryer function kicks in and the user will enjoy (how can one not?) a rush of air warmed to your choice of three temperature settings.
Errant hubbies who habitually face the wrath of a spouse who regularly experiences Raised Toilet Seat Syndrome will be interested to know the S400 covers up for their thoughtlessness. A tiny sensor embedded in the seat automatically raises the lid whenever a human of either sex looms within range; then gracefully lowers it again when Elvis or Elvira "leaves the building".
All this wiring has seemingly caused a bit of a problem, however: at least 105 TOTO washlets have emitted smoke and in some cases actual flames during use since 1984. According to information released by the Japan Warm Water Bidet Council (no, I'm not making this up), a Chinese-made electrical component is to blame and over 180,000 high-tech toilets are being recalled to deal with the issue. First pet food, now toilets. No embarrassing injuries have been reported... can you imagine the financial damages any plaintiff might claim for pain & suffering alone?