In Japan, 74% of the population owns what is called a "high-tech toilet." That’s more than the amount of Japanese who own a home computer. While there are varying degrees of sophistication, many toilets can take your blood pressure, measure your body fat, provide a heated seat and even play music.
The high-tech toilet was created in Japan by a company called Toto. In 1980, they wanted to make toilet paper obsolete: it was cumbersome, wasteful and not truly clean. Out of that desire came the Washlet toilet, complete with a simple washing spritz and convenient autoflush.
Toto’s idea, which started as a sanitary solution, has now progressed into a full-blown technological movement. Certain high-tech toilets now have many more features. Some can turn on their own night lights, release deodorants into the air and play music to mask unpleasant sounds. And that’s not an exhaustive list.
Perhaps the simplest feature of the high-tech toilet is dubbed the "marriage saver": the toilet seat and cover will automatically open and close when someone approaches or walks away. Some companies have even created a phone app to open and close the seat remotely, in the event of a marriage-related toilet seat emergency.
While the trend hasn’t caught on in the United States, Toto feels that it will eventually catch on for Westerners. The comfort and convenience alone will help the market grow, they say. Still, there is a general stigma in the United States against the bidet and anything similar. It could take years to overcome that inherent squeamishness.