Best thing about a smart toilet? You can take your mobile in without polluting it

It really makes you sit and think, doesn't it?

man reads tablet on the toilet. Photo by Shutterstock

Something for the Weekend, Sir? A man on the internet wants me to take a look at his ring.

He claims his ring detects hand gestures. Apparently with one flourish of the fingers, it will open up and let you in.

His ring supports input as well as output. You can store things in it. It accommodates accessories. He uses it as a means of payment in lieu of cash. It even speaks the time.

As regular SftWS? readers will have guessed, the ring in question – the Xenxo S-Ring – is a smart device to be worn on the hand and I have been predictably and rather pathetically trying to pique your interest with childish double-entendres. Well, enough of that. These weekly salvos at schoolboy toilet humour and sexual innuendo are getting increasingly desperate, I'm sure you agree.

Still, my column and this guy's ring could fit well together. But do I have enough in my pocket to satisfy him?

We won't know until the Kickstarter launch and see the projected price tag. So far it's just another fantasy IoT product but I hope to track the progress of any prototypes that get built. I'm already bored of smartwatches and I'm ready for the next wearable gadget.

Smart rings as a concept are old hat but those I've seen tend to offer only one feature – or two if you include "looking pug ugly". Perhaps what I find curiously appealing with the Xenxo is the creator's intent to build a dozen tracking, comms, contactless and storage functions into a signet ring, whether it's going to be possible or not, and whether you want all of them or not. I like his style.

It reminds me of those crazy multifunctional gadgets you can pick up effortlessly from the Far East, designed and built with the bloody mindedness of sheer force of will in the confident expectation that these qualities alone will make up for any failure of the product to actually work.

Some years ago, my old email address found its way onto a list much loved by Korean spam merchants and I ended up receiving vast quantities of lurid ads for electronic hair brushes, vibrating travel pillows and toilets that would play gentle music while hosing down your, er, ring with industrial-strength jets of boiling water. Ah, those were the days.

In the Far East, it's not enough to design an ash tray: it would have to be an ash tray that rotated at three speeds, lit up in the dark, streamed Netflix and offered two USB device recharger ports, one each for 1A and 2.4A. It's this kind of attitude that explains the following excerpt from Ghost In The Shell 2.0: the screenplay probably had a throwaway line such as "a festival procession moves down the canal" which then gets turned by the director into a bewildering and utterly unnecessary mini epic of beautifully grotesque melancholy.

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So I was surprised to read that the latest in multifunctional bathroom hygiene, the Axent (gotta get an 'X' in there somewhere, eh?), derives not from the Far East but Switzerland.

It's a bog-and-bidet with a heated seat, "oscillating shower spray for rear and front wash", automatic air freshener and one-touch temperature control. It can be operated from a smartphone app. And yes, for night hosers such as myself, it even lights up in the dark.

Before you ask, it'll be perfectly hygienic to use the smartphone as you perform your ablutions because this bog incorporates a warm air dryer too. This way, you can have a slash-and-dump, wash and blow dry without ever having to so much as lean forward, let alone touch your arse.

That'll certainly keep my ring bright and shiny! The Xenxo, I mean.

Hats off – or should that be "trousers down"? – to the designers but I think they missed a trick. In my experience, a built-in air freshener isn't going to be enough. I was thinking maybe an extractor fan would be more up my alley, er, I mean, well you know what I mean.

A luxury multifunctional shitter with a built-in extractor fan could be ideal for confined spaces such as trains and aeroplanes. It would be just the trick to pre-empt the kind of passenger rage reported recently on Transavia Airlines when someone on a short-haul European flight kept breaking wind over and over again.

Apparently the flight crew had to break up a scuffle as the passengers on either side of the windy one attempted to take matters into their own hands. Who knows what they would have done if the crew hadn't intervened: thrown the man off the plane from 30,000ft? Mind you, he could probably have softened the landing using his integrated intestinal jet pack.

But I digress. What I find marvellous about these IoT signet rings and smart toilets is how they reveal the sheer ingenuity of the technical mind when it's directed to solve a problem that no-one really has.

This might help explain the poor showing of IT and technical staff in a recent survey of employees asked how frequently they "get lucky" in the bedroom. Commissioned by toptradingplatforms.co.uk, the survey found that carpenters and civil servants were most likely to get jiggy on a regular basis, while those who tend not to get lucky work in finance.

In between you'll find policemen, doctors, mechanics, models and admin workers. IT workers and sysadmins are not in the list at all, which I think we can interpret as being so unlucky as to be negligible. It seems we concentrate so much on other things that we're missing out at home.

In other words, some of us spend too much time on the toilet contemplating our rings.

I wish you a happy Friday. May you get lucky.

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Major Motoko Dabbs
Alistair Dabbs is a freelance technology tart, juggling tech journalism, training and digital publishing. In anime terms, he says, Ghost In The Shell is a cyber-thriller, Ghost In The Shell 3 is an crime-action-thriller, the two Stand Alone Complex series are thoughtful studies into the ethics of hacking and asylum, and Arise is a waste of time. Ghost In The Shell 2.0, however, is an utter mind-fuck: definitely the best.



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