Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/02/14/talking_urinal/
'Your future is in your hand,' says talking urinal
Back in July last year, we reported on the latest innovation in urinal technology: the "Wizmark Urinal Communicator", designed to give forth whenever some unsuspecting bar customer points his pecker at the porcelain.
Specifically, the Wizmark is a "waterproof, disposable drain cover embedded with electronics that senses a visitor and then relays an audio message". It boasts a proximity sensor which detects someone approaching "within about 30 to 60 centimetres". After a suitable pause to allow the customer to position himself, the Communicator gives forth with a "pre-recorded audio announcement".
It also comes complete with "nine-centimetre diameter display area containing a lenticular screen that features multiple images or text that, and as the person moves toward the urinal, they appear to change from one graphic to the other".
Safety officials in Nassau County, New York, were suitably impressed and acquired 100 examples. They must have worked, because New Mexico has now ordered 500 at $21 a pop, due for deployment across the state.
According to Newmexican.com, the initiative is part of a local Department of Transportation drive (slogan "You drink, you drive, you lose") to tackle drunk driving. TV ads and "printed material" are to be backed by the vociferous bog cake in bars from Albuquerque to Santa Fe.
How, though, does the Wizmark discourage sozzled boozers from getting behind the wheel? Well, it's rather inspired, as you can find out here.
In case you didn't quite get that, here's the text in full:
Hey there, big guy. Having a few drinks? Then listen up. Think you've had one too many? Then it time to call a cab or ask a sober friend for a ride home. It sure is safer and a hell of a lot cheaper than a DWI. Make the smart choice tonight. Don't drink and drive. Remember, your future is in your hand.
Brilliant. Pints all round for the New Mexico Department of Transportation. ®
Thanks to Nathan Leigh across the Pond for the Wizmark update.