In this project we aimed to looked at the common toilets and the nuisances faced by the public and based on these inputs we sought to redesign the toilet.
Taavet Pärenson, Industrial Designer
Hafiz Abdul Manan, Mechanical Engineer
Pranay Kenkre, Production Engineering
This was the project in our first semester of Design and Engineering. The task that was given to us was to explore various public spaces and come up with different areas that might need intervention. The area that our group chose was Toilets. Our basic framework for teh start was
General user perspective about public toilets.
Reasons for reluctance to use public washrooms.
Common nuisances faced by users.
Which touchpoints in the washrooms user feels are the most infected?
What precautions users take before and while using the public washrooms?
What user expects to be changed in the existing public washrooms?
What are the unspoken demands of the users?
After conducting the user interviews we found the following touch points to intervene.
Difficulty in identifying if the washroom is occupied.
Wet toilet seat.
Flush lever is a major infected touch point.
Washroom door handle can be a nasty touch point.
There is no proper arrangement for storage of luggage.
We realized that we did not want to solve these problems individual, we wanted to recreate the whole experience. For us the theme came out in Sci-Fi, reimagining the toilet as a Pod where you escape the confines of life for yourself. And hence the same 'Escape Pod'
From a rather early stage we knew we needed to have an environment that we could control. We played around with different layout but finally settled on a shape that works with the Central unit we designed.
It was designed to support the central unit and other support units needed for recycling and maintenance without compromising the feeling of space and privacy. With this system we can create different layouts depending on location and different types of surroundings.
We experimented with different layout for the Central Unit.
The final concept is a Central unit that combines and refines all the different features needed to create a new experience.
Different technologies are used to achieve this:
Steam Cleaning toilet seat system
Water Conservation system / Container
Steam Cleaning Toilet Seat:
The Toilet Seat was one of the most important points that needed our attention, since in the minds of the people this is the most infectious area. The steam cleaning system consists of nozzles in the toilet lid, these nozzles when they are pressed into the seat will release high pressure steam which then cleans the seat along with warming it.
It was important that the user itself does some action because we wanted to force the point that the seat is clean. We had our inspiration from the people who took toilet paper and used it to make a cover for them to sit on. Even though hygienically it doesn’t make any difference, it was important cue for us if we wanted to change the perception of our toilet.
Water Conservation system
One of our core values was sustainability. The world is increasingly utilizing the natural resources of earth and it is vital for us designers and engineers to keep that in mind.
The water conservation system in Escape-Pod works by conserving the water used to wash hands in a tank and then using it for flush when it’s needed.
This results in almost 50% reduction in water used.
One of the most common nuisance that users feel is the drying of hands. Drying of hands using the tissues is the most common but it requires labor and is not cheap. Frequent visits are required by the staff to keep the quantity in check.
Furthermore the trash bins in the washrooms are normally full and they have to be emptied which incurs extra labor cost.
Hand-drying using air is cost effective which eliminates all the hassles that are described above.
In order to find the perfect hand-drying solution we chose a mechanism which uses a high pressure air film to effectively ‘brush’ the water off your hand.
We placed it in front of the unit in order for it to be most effective. We found that it’s a hassle with wet hands if you have to travel the length of the washroom with dripping hands in order to dry them.