Again, the two main issues with this interactive experience are:

1. Toilet paper does not actually clean.

2. Toilet paper is wasting paper (even if it is relatively small amount and mostly made of recycled paper)

In the past decade there have been advancements made in this area which eliminate these issues (or at least the first one).

The bidet attachments (shown above) for the toilet seat which rinse, dry and heat are ubiquitous in Japan. Toto is one of the major manufacturers of these toilet seat attachments. An informative Toto commercial can be seen here. These bidet attachments fit onto any standard toilet seat and according to Toto's web site they are the "most natural way to gently yet thoroughly clean even the most delicate of areas. Studies have shown that regular usage of the Washlet may benefit those suffering from itching, irritation, and discomfort." Some believe that the "3 Sea Shells" mentioned in Demolition man is actually a reference to the bidet toilets in japan, with the shells being buttons for rinse, dry and flush.

Another innovation in toilet paper was the Rollwipes which are wet wipes on a roll. Although these are a solution to the "not-clean" issue with toilet paper, these did not succeed in the market. Copernicus Marketing, in an article entitled "Surviving Innovation," suggests it has to do with mistakes in product testing. The public did not understand the product and those who did were embarrassed to have wet wipes in their bathroom. Charmin re-released these wipes as Freshmates which come in a container that can be secretly stowed under the sink (so no one will ever know that you actually have a clean butt).

If I were to make some design suggestions. I would bring back the Rollwipes but have the option of wet/dry. Some people may be attached to their dry tissue and some my like alternating between wet and dry. As far as the bidet toilets, perhaps the Toto toilets could have some vacuum suction feature in addition to their rinse and blow dry. These suggestions, however, assume that the public already accepts the water aided methods which they do not.

I believe that the United States is not ready to accept any advancements in this area as it is considered taboo. Some males may think that washing with a bidet like feature is feminine or using wet wipes is for babies or embarrassing. Our culture may not be ready for an alternative to what has been used for the past 150 years. One must remember though that when the idea of toilet paper first came about 150 years ago, the populous did not accept this taboo product. It took over 40 years for the invention of toilet paper to become widely accepted. Perhaps it will take another 40 years for the toilets of Japan or wet wipes or my Suck-o-Matic 5000 Toilet* to be accepted in the United States.

*lets say 50 years for this one


copyright 2006