Aug. 1 - A British design student has invented a hi-tech squat toilet for the western market, which he believes will provide health benefits for users and lead to the demise of the traditional seated lavatory.
Peter Codling calls it the Penseur ...a high tech squat toilet he invented in design school. It's where he does some of his best thinking. A recent graduate of London's Royal College of Art, Codling says the human body was meant to squat when taking care of business..so he decided to re-invent the toilet. SOUNDBITE (English) ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART INNOVATION DESIGN ENGINEERING GRADUATE, PETER CODLING, SAYING: "You have a muscle that's connected to your pelvis that in a sitting position cinches closed your colon and stops you from going completely and quickly, as you should do. In the squatting position this muscle is relaxed and you can go and your colon is straightened, which enables you to go quickly and much more completely." Squat toilets are uncommon in the Western world, which is why Codling added extra comforts to his hi-tech throne, like a touchscreen that allows a user to choose the perfect water pressure for the bidet and massage functions. SOUNDBITE (English) ROYAL COLLEGE OF ART INNOVATION DESIGN ENGINEERING GRADUATE, PETER CODLING, SAYING: "These pads support the body, for the back and the bottom of the lower thigh, which enables the buttocks to be free, so to put someone in a new position like that and to have it comfortable was a tricky thing to do. So I've had to iterate many times to finally get the position that worked comfortably and I had my 83-year-old grandmother in this yesterday, so I'm quite certain that it works for a larger age range than a current sitting toilet." Leading bowel expert, Professor Charles Knowles of Queen Mary University London, says there's been little research on the benefits of squatting. But he sees potential interest from chronic constipation sufferers. SOUNDBITE (English) PROFESSOR CHARLES KNOWLES, PROFESSOR OF SURGICAL RESEARCH, AT QUEEN MARY UNIVERSITY LONDON, AND BOWEL EXPERT, SAYING: "I don't think it's going to be a game changer in preventing all known bowel illnesses because of course a great many of them, including colorectal cancer, have a strong genetic component. It doesn't matter what you do with the shape of your toilet, you're not going to alter that risk. I think its greatest perceived benefit will be around the efficiency of defecation, particularly in people who have a problem with that." Visitors to the recent design show at Codling's college tried out the toilet for size. SOUNDBITE (English) DARREN, SCHOOL PUPIL, SAYING: "I would use it, because it's definitely more relaxing and easier to use." SOUNDBITE (English) MUBASAHIR, SCHOOL PUPIL, SAYING: "I think the shape of it may seem now a bit weird to people but that's what it is with everything, so I think it could be the replacement for the previous toilet." Codling hopes it will only take one sitting for someone to change their lifetime toilet habits..he hopes the Penseur will be on the market within two years and make him flush with success.