Bog to future: Why smart toilets are spreading across Europe

I met the king of toilets.

The lights turned on, the seat rose to welcome me. There was no need for toilet paper.

This throne of the future offers an almost entirely hands-free experience, and better still — no man will ever be told off again for forgetting to close the lid.

Smart toilets have been around in Japan for decades, but now they’re coming to a bathroom near you.

And for the first time, your toilet will feature an app.

Meet Grohe

Grohe, the German luxury bathroom designer is behind this bog of the future.

And I was permitted to visit its futuristic office, metres from the runway at Heathrow Airport. As the jets roared by in front of my very eyes, I experienced the the future of waste disposal.

Cleaner than ever

Just like the floor lights on a plane, as I entered the bathroom, I was greeted by a reassuring LED night light radiating from underneath the toilet. The seat also lifted, which added to a slightly ghost-like experience.

Grohe’s Sensia Arena won’t keep the seat warm for you, unlike the Japanese models I’ve tried.

The Sensia cleans itself before you’ve even sat down and has a powerful extractor fan which sucks away any bad odours before passing them through a charcoal filter and then back into the room.

Does your toilet need an app?

With the job done, you’re ready for the bidet function. There’s two options to select through the Sensia app: a remote control where you can select front (gentlemen, be careful) or rear or as expected.

Both allow you to choose your ideal water pressure and temperature and to save your personal preferences. (Grohe explained that customers do indeed have their preferences and this is one of the device’s most popular features).

Thankfully the app uses Bluetooth, so you won’t need to worry about someone hacking your wifi and taking over your futuristic toilet bowl.

Grohe’s engineers also insisted that once the toilet is in action, it can’t be overridden by another user, preventing your children from playing an epic April Fool’s joke.

But as our smartphones become one of our worst germ magnets, I couldn’t help wondering if they should be kept clear of the bathroom.

A final flourish

For the grand finale, the water jet extends from the toilet bowl like a menacing turtlehead. It’s unlikely you will ever notice it while sat down, but it’s worth warning guests if it’s the first time they’ve ever seen it.

A fan then blows warm air over your buttocks, and this very modern spa ritual comes to an end.

Stand up, and the toilet seat will close after you. That one small act might change the course of many marriages across Europe.

Entering Europe

The biggest difference about this smart toilet is that it’s ready for Europe.

Unlike the Japanese models I’ve seen, first and foremost, Grohe’s product is one that you will be proud to have in your bathroom. The tech may be cutting edge, but it comes second to great design.

The Japanese been hooked for decades because they know that Shower Toilets are more hygienic and drastically better for the environment.

By comparison, the average Brit gets through 18kg of toilet paper every year, and — the way we wash in the West hasn’t changed since the Victorian days.

It’s time for change.

Selling for over £2,000 in the UK, the Grohe Sensia Arena is priced at a premium. But like it lump it, the European market is fast-growing and is predicted to be 10% bigger by 2020. Once European customers embrace them, prices will inevitably fall and Shower Toilets will become mainstream.

And just like the Japanese, we’ll look back and wonder how we ever lived without the toilet of the future.

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