The call of nature holds essential health data. The challenge is gathering that information before it’s flushed down the toilet. For many people, collecting their waste for medical analysis can be inconvenient and intrusive.
One of the solutions is smart toilet technology, which lets doctors and clinics track urination and bowel movements without the typical fuss. These devices offer automated, home-based, and continuous health monitoring for early disease diagnosis while connected to data servers. The technology helps clinicians classify, quantify, and interpret collected data quickly and accurately.
Among the players in this emerging niche is Toi Labs, a San Francisco-based healthcare technology startup founded in 2018 by serial entrepreneur Vik Kashyap.
Toi Labs’ flagship product is the TrueLoo toilet seat, which automates the collection of waste specimens. The idea is to improve its monitoring in a cost-effective and convenient way, with the ultimate goal of improving health and wellness.
The TrueLoo works like a standard seat and requires no change in behavior. When used, it securely gathers health data and sends it for analysis by medical and health organizations. Early detection information can identify potential health issues such as urinary tract infections, dehydration, bleeding, and infectious diseases.
In April 2021, Toi Labs began a partnership on a TrueLoo pilot project with The Legacy Senior Communities. The Dallas-based nonprofit organization operates a retirement community, rental community, and home health care agency. It also offers hospice care and personal assistance services.
In the project, The Legacy collected data on bathroom visits by residents of its retirement community, comparing TrueLoo tracking with manually monitored visits.
In November 2022, the nonprofit reported that the TrueLoo has been more thorough and accurate than manual tracking.
Because of those results, The Legacy announced plans to expand the use of the TrueLoo to include memory support and skilled nursing bathrooms at its Midtown Park and Willow Bend communities. The expansion was expected to be completed by the end of 2022.
“We’re consistently exploring new technologies to ensure that we are providing excellent care in the most effective and efficient ways,” said Melissa Orth, Legacy Senior Communities CEO. “The TrueLoo smart toilet enables us, in a dignified and valuable manner, to better monitor and follow up when important changes to output are identified. This expedites our response and increases the accuracy and timeliness of important data.”
Toil Labs competes in what is still a relatively small market that includes “wearables” such as smartwatches that can continually monitor users’ health.
Among the other smart toilet monitoring systems is the U-Scan, a home lab made by French consumer electronics company Withings. It’s a sensor that attaches to the bowl and analyzes urine when the toilet is used.
Withings unveiled the product in early January during CES 2023, the world’s largest consumer tech trade show. The monitor was expected to be available in Europe in the first half of 2023. It will be available in the U.S. once it receives approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.