OUR bathroom habits are a goldmine of information for health professionals.
But clinical procedures for testing samples can be cumbersome, embarrassing, and most of us will only visit a doctor a few times each year.
Enter the smart toilet.
Designed by researchers at America's Stanford University, the smart toilet could track biomarkers of health and disease in a person's urine and stool.
Sam Gambhir and colleagues designed the modular toilet system to incorporates pressure and motion sensors; test strips and video cameras for analysing the flow of urine and its basic biochemical composition; computer-vision and machine-learning algorithms for classifying stools according to a clinical scale of their morphology and liquidity; and biometric identification via a fingerprint scanner embedded in the flush lever.
But tracking our health from the comfort of our own bathrooms is a long way off.
The potential health benefits of the toilet system will need to be assessed in large clinical studies. The system will also need to be optimized with baseline data of the excreta of human populations.