TRA TỪ

Interview

The toilet of tomorrow?

Hi, I’m Sam Grobart, personal technology editor for the New York Times. This is my house, it’s on a block in suburban New Jersey. And like a lot of blocks in this town, the houses are kind of similar. Some people distinguish themselves maybe with a new fence or a kitchen remodel but I have something new that I think will trump them all. Let me show you.

Oh, look hi, No, no, no, come in! Come in, no, no!This is what I wanted to show you. Yeah, now absolutely. It’s the Numi, it’s from Kohler. It’s a new toilet they have. They lent it to me for a month so I could try it out. If I had paid for it with my own money it would have cost me six thousand dollars. That’s more than my Chrysler. So what do you get for that kind of money? Well, for starters, the Numi will sense when you approach and open its lid automatically.

If you are a man, you can place your foot beside the base and that will raise the seat. That seat of course is also heated and the Numi can blow warm air onto your feet. The Numi can also clean and dry men and women with an extendable wand that sprays water and hot air.

The Numi’s also very efficient, it has two flushing modes. It has eco-flush, which uses .6 gallons of water and that’s good for, you know, number one. And then there’s full flush, which has twice that amount and that’s for more power.

Anyway, all these things can be controlled from the Numi’s touch screen remote. You can actually access the Numi’s built-in FM radio, which also includes pre-sets. And there’s a jack to plug in your Ipod if you prefer that. You can also access the user settings so different members of your family can each get a personalized treatment.

Not that this luxury comes all that easily. Installation is a bit more complicated now you have to run an electrical line to your toilet through a wall. And the learning curve compared with just about any other toilet in the world is fairly steep.

And of course anytime you add a computer to something you’re adding complexity. It might be very neat that the Numi can open itself when you approach but it would be a lot quicker and easier to just flip the lid open yourself. Not to mention the fact that there are some reliability questions. I approached the Numi one day to discover that it had, in fact, crashed and I had to reboot the toilet.

So, is it worth it? Of course it isn’t! But that isn’t really the point is it? A status symbol like the Numi doesn’t do anything better than say, a regular toilet. Its value is that Jay, across the street, doesn’t have one.

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