Will the wonders of techology never cease?
It seems like every day, scientists and tech pioneers are coming up with new innovations that none of us ever thought possible.
But the latest development is a hole—er, sorry—whole new horizon.
Ladies and gents, we introduce you to "butt recognition" technology.
This new frontier comes to us from researchers at Stanford University, who are working to develop a toilet that recognizes your exact, unique butt so that it can monitor you for health markers.
Why, in God's name, are they doing this?
Well as project lead Sanjiv Gambhir MD Ph.D. describes it in a press release:
"The whole point is to provide precise, individualized health feedback, so we needed to make sure the toilet could discern between users."
So to that end, the toilets are outfitted with scanners that read users' booties with what the researchers wittily call, "the polar opposite of facial recognition technology."
Dr. Gambhir goes on to say:
"As it turns out, your anal print is unique."
Okay wow, Dr. Gambhir.
"This toilet is fitted with technology that can detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including those of some cancers, such as colorectal or urologic cancers..
Oh well that's actually very cool, and the health benefits are obvious.
What else, Dr. Gambhir?
"[T]o fully reap the benefits of the smart toilet, users must make their peace with a camera that scans their anus."
Technology is...really something.
But in all seriousness, this is a pretty cool innovation. In addition to the, um, anal print information, the toilet also provides urinalysis data which can uncover all kinds of medical issues.
And in the case of the colorectal and urologic cancers Dr. Gambhir mentions, which can be difficult to detect in their early stages when it's easiest to treat them, anything that could provide early and less invasive warning is a potentially life-saving development.
As the Doctor put it in the press release:
"...the smart toilet is the perfect way to harness a source of data that's typically ignored — and the user doesn't have to do anything differently."
The medical innovations, of course, were not exactly top of mind for the internet.
It was mostly lots of jokes.
Anyway, the good news is this anus-scanning wonder can be yours without much hassle, according to Dr. Gambhir.
"It's sort of like buying a bidet add-on that can be mounted right into your existing toilet."
What a time to be alive.
The book Poop Happened!: A History of the World from the Bottom Up is available here.