Scientists are developing a ‘smart TOILET’ that samples urine to detect illnesses before you have symptoms – but it comes with privacy risks

Scientists are developing a ‘smart TOILET’ that samples urine to detect illnesses before you have symptoms – but it comes with privacy risks


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Stacy Liberatore | The Daily Mail | Source URL

Smart toilets may help doctors better understand your health, but the technology can also let anyone pry into your personal life.

Because the urine analysis is sent to a physician's office, an employee or online hacker can intercept the data see the individual's health and lifestyle.

However, the risk is not delaying two scientists from developing the device, which is capable of detecting urinary tract infections, kidney disease, diabetes and other metabolic disorders before symptoms appear.

The smart toilet is currently in developmental phases and is being constructed by a team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison).

Scientists are calling this a non-invasive way to collect and compile your health information, right from your own home.

And the team at UW-Madison is incorporating a portable mass spectrometer that can pinpoint markers in samples – before individuals show symptoms.

Using machines known as gas chromatographs and mass spectrometers, they analyzed their urinary metabolites.

Approximately 110 samples were analyzed over a 10 day period and the tea was able to create snapshots of each individual's day-to-day health.

Joshua Coon and Ian Miller, the scientists behind the smart toilet and the two participants in the study, found that the molecular makeup of their urine showed them how much they had slept, how much they exercised, how much alcohol or coffee they had drunk and when and how much over-the-counter medication they had taken.

They hope a finish product will be available within five years, but the duo does understand it comes with implications.

Because the smart toilets will transmit urine analysists to doctor's anyone in the office or even an online hacker could see the data.

In a scenario offered by Coon, an employer could secretly analyze the urine of a potential employee, and find out about his or her health and lifestyle.

Last year, European Space Agency (ESA) and MIT have teamed up with sanitation specialists to create the 'FitLoo', which will screen urine for the presence of extra proteins and glucose, gathering data through sensors located inside the bowl.

These will detect fluctuations in levels of these substances, as well as the presence of other markers that might be an early warning of cancer or diabetes.

Data could be beamed to your smartphone or even directly to GPs so they can keep a remote eye on their patients.

FitLoo is based on technology used by astronauts to monitor their health aboard the International Space Station (ISS), as reported in the Telegraph.

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