Peoria Public Radio Staff
All Tech Considered
Mon August 5, 2013
The Hackable Japanese Toilet Comes With An App To Track Poop
Originally published on Mon August 5, 2013 2:45 pm
Disclosure: After writing about the Latvian Sink-Urinal a few weeks ago, and then following it up with a post on the Japanese sink-toilet, I was really reluctant to report on toilet technology again. But what can I say, my editor made me do it?
We've been featuring innovative ideas each week, and in the course of our reporting many of you have pointed out the impressiveness of the Japanese in the area of toilet technology. The toilets there are so smart that last week we learned that one kind of Japanese toilet can be hacked.
According to a warning by the information security firm Trustwave, a Satis-brand toilet by the Japanese commode company Lixil can be controlled remotely by an Android app. How? Every Satis toilet has the same hard-coded Bluetooth PIN (0000). That means anyone using the "My Satis" Android app can control any Satis toilet.
We've excerpted part of the advisory:
"An attacker could simply download the 'My Satis' application and use it to cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, raising the water usage and therefore utility cost to its owner. Attackers could cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to user."
Sounds like some discomfort, indeed. But this whole kerfuffle got us curious about what else the My Satis toilet could do, so we put the promotional site into Google translate to learn more. Not surprisingly, this toilet is flush with features.
At $4,000, the Satis has features that come standard in Nipponese commodes, like deodorizing capabilities, an automatic seat and a two-nozzle bidet spray. But the app takes the experience to another level. You can set the toilet speakers to play the music on your smartphone — essentially deejaying your time on the toilet. A personal potty party, if you will.
It also makes it easier to life-log even your most unsavory details: You can use it to record and track your bowel movements.
The promotional site explains that quantifying poop is "essential for understanding" your health status, and your digestive regularity is key to determining any "changes in the body and disorder of the mind," according to the ad copy.
This isn't a completely foreign idea. While reporting on the quantified self movement in March, the life-logger I profiled referenced a Californian who tracked his digestive system for a year. While researching, I discovered there's an American app for that.
With that, we conclude this edition of your toilet innovation report.