A tech-y loo in Tokyo

This is why I love Japan. Innovation takes place even in the loo. Take this toilet in the JR Shingawa station. Self-explanatory picture – they use technology to take the guesswork out of queuing for available stalls. Not only do lit icons mean stalls are free so you just head straight for those, the panel also shows which stalls are sit or squat versions. Handy for gaijins like me who avoid the squat pans. Instant information for those in a hurry to head for another loo if all stalls are taken. No more agonising outside a cubicle, or discreet tapping or nudging closed doors to see if someone is really inside or if the lock is just faulty. I guess they use motion-sensor technology to indicate if there are occupants in the stalls. After all we use this in carparks to indicate availability right? So why not the loo? Now I suppose the next step is to find a way to indicate which stall is running low on toilet paper or guesstimate how long each stall will be occupied – ie big job or little job, so that those waiting can make informed choices? Or is that too much information?

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