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Now Witness the Power of This Armed and Fully Operational Space Toilet

Last year Krissy decided that she wanted to upgrade our bathroom suite, and not in just a “new hand towels and shower curtain” way — a whole revamp. I was fine with this, I said, if I got what I wanted out of it: a supercool space age “intelligent toilet” with all the bells and whistles. It took a while, because 2021 was The Year of Supply Chain Issues, but the new bathroom is 90% completed and the Space Toilet is now installed and operational.

I’ve now availed myself of the Space Toilet a couple of times, and I have to say, coming from your basic commode, it’s something of a surreal experience. One, it knows when you’re on your way and raises the toilet seat for you, with a little light in the bowl to guide you at night. Two, it then spritzes the porcelain bowl before you sit, presumably so whatever horrible thing you’re about to put into it doesn’t stick to the side of the bowl. Three, when you do sit, the seat is warm — not an awful “this seat was immediately previously occupied” warm, but a “I was expecting you and have thoughtfully prepared you a pleasant experience” warm. The sort of warm that invites you to settle in.

When you’ve done your business, whatever that business is, you have the option of the bidet. The bidet is adjustable for “front” or “back” (figure it out), allows you to adjust the pressure and temperature of the water, and offers both “massage” and “swirl” settings, which you can select from the remote control which hangs on the wall. When you’re done with that, there’s a dryer option, which runs just about as long as you like. When that’s completed, there are two flush modes to choose from, but if you forget (or are just an awful person) and walk away without flushing, the toilet will automatically flush for you. Then it does a little bit of sanitizing and closes the lid until the next time you come in to pursue your business.

It’s probably the single most complicated piece of machinery in the house, and it’s utterly ridiculous. I am very happy with my purchase so far.

Also, in case you’re wondering what happens if you lose the remote, you can operate it from the toilet itself (note the line of lights on the seat, which are buttons), and should the power go out, it retains flushing ability and so on. It is a basic toilet and can do basic toilet things (and we have three other more standard toilets in the house in any event). It just branches out from there.

Would I recommend my new supercool space age intelligent toilet to others? Well, let me sit with it (so to speak) for a while longer before I say. Partly because this thing is absolutely not in any way inexpensive; there are more expensive individual objects in the house, but not many. I suspect you can get 90% of the utility of this toilet for about a tenth of the price. But, oh, that extra ten percent.

It’s entirely the most bougie thing in my place, and while I am just fine with that, I’m not sure that’s for everyone. Give me a month or so with it and I will offer my final thoughts then.

— JS

By John Scalzi

I enjoy pie.

57 replies on “Now Witness the Power of This Armed and Fully Operational Space Toilet”

I’ve had the opportunity to use these in Japanese restaurant lavatories, and loved it. Definitely on my wish list.

Also, that’s really nice flooring. Is it wood, wood-look tile, or what? I’m going with wood-look tile, for ease of cleaning. Am I right? If it’s tile, you can put in a heat mat under it, so that you have a heated floor in the bathroom. That’s one thing that we do already have, and it’s wonderful. No cold feet in winter, and a nice side benefit is that it dries quickly. Also, the cats love it.

You say space age but this is a perfectly normal toilet in Japan. Any department store in Tokyo has all these features on the toilets any random customer can use, and probably also music or sound effects to mask your business while using it.

It sounds like Space John is in your master suite. Will you now invite guests to traipse through the bedroom to have The Experience, or will it remain a mystery to them?

I will be the first to admit that the U.S. is a century or so behind in the toilets we use, compared to the rest of the civilized world.

Double buttons and bidets are almost everywhere, except here.

But, I want a stupid house, because it can’t be hacked and, mainly, because technology breaks and I can’t fix it. I couldn’t handle having a broken toilet for a couple of weeks while waiting on, first, a qualified plumber, and, secondly, waiting on the parts to fix it.

My wife also decided that she wanted to redo the whole bathroom, and I also insisted on the overly-fancy toilet. We’re still on deck (heh) with the contractors, so the toilet sits in its box in the basement. I’m quite excited to get it installed.

Hey, how come you have no sound effects or music on this thing? Japanese toilets have sound effects and music to scare away bad ninjas or cling-on warriors.

I’m always skeptical of complicated devices like this (e.g., “smart home” devices), because that’s more things that can go wrong.

I bought a touch-control faucet for the kitchen sink, and after about two years, the fussiness needed to keep it working aggravated me enough to disconnect that function.

We went for Totos maybe 15-20 years ago. They’re still working. We laugh during toilet paper shortages.

I first heard of these when there was a full page ad in the New York Times back in the 1960s. There was a big update-the-bathroom push back then with proposed bathroom redesigns in all the popular magazines. (Magazines are like web sites but printed on paper.) The magazines were also full of flying cars and jet packs. Those never came to pass, but at least we’ve got Toilet 2.0.

We’ve had an ordinary dumb Toto model very much shaped like John’s for nearly 20 years. Toto toilets Do Not Clog. And they flush everything. Every plumbing problem we’ve had is down the sewer pipes. Only issue is that every 10-15 years the flappers wear out. New $10 flapper, good to go. So to speak.

You can buy a bidet seat, rather than a whole smart toilet, for a couple hundred or so. It does most of that, most importantly the warm seat and the bidet / drying functions – and can be replaced when it breaks. (That warm seat, when you’ve had to climb out of bed in the middle of the night, is a luxury that never palls!) They are not too difficult to install; the one thing that may be a problem in many American bathrooms is that you need an outlet near the toilet.
(I am not saying the fancy space toilet isn’t worth getting, but that those who don’t have the budget for one – but do have a little extra $$$ – can still experiene many of its pleasures.)

It sounds wonderful! We couldn’t afford such great toilets, so we did our best with low-flow toilets with flush assist. That keeps the bowls cleaner, and prevents a lot of extra flushes. We’re adding a bare-bones bidet to our master bath toilet,

Our vet in Oakland had bidets added to their toilets – nice bidets, We never missed an appointment.

I’ll never understand why Americans don’t get how good bidets are. Sure, I know the historical excuse, but it doesn’t hold water anymore.

I’ve been using mine for a couple week now. I’ve had to run an extension cord from my bedroom to plug it in because the new outlet under the wash basin hasn’t been fully installed yet.

I love it! My brand is Woodbridge. It’s about a third of the price of the top of the line Toto and seems to have all the features, except that the Toto ionizes the water to help the toilet stay cleaner.

My new floor looks like yours, except older and more weathered. It’s porcelain tile, but the wood print is convincing enough that I have more than once knelt down to feel it and make sure the cracks and potential splinters aren’t real.

I hope they finish my bathroom remodel soon. The fancy new shower has to be re-tiled, because they botched it the first time. They haven’t been here this week because of the flu, and they won’t be here the rest of the week because the weather turned from spring-like to wintery overnight. The school district just announced that the elementary school is closing NOW (so I have to go pick up the four kids early) and probably will be closed all week. Legitimate reasons, but my remodeling project has been going on since December 27.

As you’ve travelled, and seen on-line photos of, just how many different toilets there are out there. And they’ve all been designed and prototyped by “someone”.
All those people when asked what their job is have invented something other then “toilet engineer”.
Do you think they get to take the prototypes home for the weekend for some field testing?

you know those fake interviews you’ve done with yourself (or some subset persona)?

it would ROFL if you did one with a hyper-intelligent toilet aboard the USS Enterprise (weird stuff McCoy flushes)… or better the Millennium Falcon (wookie’s dietary habits)… Clarke’s Odyssey (spilling HAL’s secrets)

Scalzi: so what got you into this line of work?

Enterprise-HIT: not listening to my parents and getting my PhD in French Literature

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