AAs we head into another scorching summer and Jen Shah’s “not guilty” merchandise drops — not to mention the inevitable eerie sightings at Skinwalker Ranch — sit back, relax, and take a minute to embrace the ridiculousness that is. reality.
Speaking of which, can BYU students please, please, stop cooking homemade rocket fuel in their dorms? BYU police were called in when a batch of rocket fuel “exploded in a fireball,” and campus police weren’t happy. “Keep your experiments in the lab,” they warned.
On the less explosive side of things, Starter Summer Reading is now available with a fanfiction side. Everyone’s favorite quirky VC, Scott Paul, has landed the lead role in an NFT novel concocted by Elle Griffin, aka The Novelleist, aka Editor-in-Chief of Utah Company. Zingers like “SafeMoon was melting like Dali’s clocks”, add a new layer of #meta. Meet at Decentraland.
Since Utahns are cold to be the butt of the joke, this month Two Truths and a Lie, Utah Tech Edition stays with the jar theme. Which of the following three toilet startups is the fake one?
- A startup that uses motion detection and LED lights to get you bowling at night
- A startup that analyzes animal feces to control bad behavior by pet owners
- A startup that automatically plays pleasant music to drown out loud ablutions
Sit in Judgment on the AI Medic Lav Smart Toilet
Next time you head to the bathroom for a well-deserved Wordle break, know that you could be weighed, scanned and assessed by the Medic Lav smart toilet. You can thank Provo-based Medic.life for this AI-assisted experience: Their sensor-laden seat and bowl track users’ weight, body fat, and blood pressure.
The smart toilet is equipped with a bidet and a smoke extractor, as well as a super-duper biosensor field-effect transistor that measures proteins, antigens, DNA, RNA and microRNA in urine. It is sensitive enough to map thousands of biomarkers linked to infections and diseases, including Covid. Urine test or back-to-work nasal swab – to each their own, I guess.
The reason for this bolus invasion is early prevention: A staggering number of Americans are walking around with undiagnosed kidney disease and hypertension. These health issues could easily be detected and treated via a simple urinalysis. It sounds like a smart, non-invasive way to get help early – a win-win for everyone. Data is collected and sent to the encrypted Medic.life app, which can also be shared with family or healthcare providers.
They better move on, though – Covid has delayed Medic deployment and the smart toilet is exploding. Boston-based Casana is beta testing its Heart Seat, a hybrid toilet seat and heart monitor, and the Toto “wellness” toilet in Japan is nearing completion. Another blunder in your future bathroom: Medic CEO Chad Adams predicts that “virus detection by urine collection…will be mandatory within five years.”
This seems like a stretch – while I’m all for getting better data on my body’s health, I don’t like the idea of the government (and my employer!) getting it as well.
How the Squatty Potty Gave Birth to Utah’s Restroom Startup Scene
Utah’s claim to restroom fame emerged in 2011 via the infamous St. George-based Squatty Potty. The company’s squat-don’t-sit approach to gut health won them a spot on Shark Tank in 2014 and $350,000 for a 10% buy-in from QVC queen Lori Greiner, who helped the mother and son founders rake in over $222 million in sales. In May 2021, the brand was acquired by consumer product bigwig Aterian, which means it’s time to dive into the highs and lows of Squatty Potty’s story.
From a simple kneeling stool, the company has expanded to bidets, forming Potty Pets toilets for toddlers with dog-themed anthropomorphic stools, and a Pootanical range of bathroom air fresheners. bath (scents include unicorn gold and cherry blossom). The brand is so beloved that even their gagged gifts — think dookie unicorn soft toys and a squatty potty keychain — have received rave reviews. “We got this as a Christmas tree decoration! Love it!” commented a fan. OK, you do.
Over the years, Squatty Potty has garnered numerous celebrity accolades. Model Ashley Graham said SHE that she’s “obsessed with my Squatty Potty,” and NBA star Steph Curry has bought “several” pots for her million-dollar cushion, to name a few. The company has even sponsored two Olympian swimmers – “Team Squatty Potty” – for the 2021 games. 2017 after the fall of two children – but the “chill and settle-on” crowd remains faithful to a fault. People say they find their best toilet ideas…
Wash and wipe with this smart toilet seat
It is in the nature of humanity to improve or destroy. Ever since we had indoor plumbing, inventors have been striving to make the call of human nature a little classier…and cleaner – disposable toilet seat covers date back to 1942! But more often than not, you walk into a public cabin to find a pile of soggy seat covers stuck to the floor. Why can’t we have nice things, y’all?
For Rob Poleki, recently transplanted to Lehi, the deplorable toilet was an opportunity. Enter Washie: the wipeable toilet seat with an included sanitizer dispenser. The seat seal contains a refillable cartridge loaded with 800ml of alcohol-based cleaning solution (2000 uses, they say), dispensed by waving your hand in front of the sensor. A quick wipe down of the seat with toilet paper and you’re done. Sure, you could do it just as easily – and for a lot less – with a wall-mounted dispenser, but who doesn’t love a 2-in-1?
The Washie seat syncs to an app via Bluetooth which lets staff know when it needs refilling (which should apply to toilet rolls, IMHO). “A clean restroom promotes a clean reputation,” says Washie’s marketing. The toilet seat was soft-launched in 2021, and tourists interested in toilets can test drive it at BYU Marriott Center, Mountain America Expo Center, and Salt Palace Convention Center, among others. Next on the Washie roadmap: consumer releases. Look – and wipe! – this space.
Answer to Two Truths and a Lie, Utah Tech Edition:
The bathroom music startup is the fake one. Provo-based IllumiBowl sells the motion-activated toilet nightlight, and PooPrints — widely embraced by the Utah Apartment Association — is the dog DNA sleuth startup.