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Analyzing urine and stool to get a picture of health has traditionally been the work of dedicated diagnostic labs. People submit samples and technicians analyze them for a range of factors, from the presence of blood or harmful pathogens that may be causing disease to the concentration of certain chemicals that are supposed to be filtered out of the body.

Now, scientists have developed a way to bring some of that process into the home with a “smart toilet” that could someday detect a range of disease markers in stool and urine, including for colorectal and urologic cancer. In a paper recently published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, scientists at Stanford University reveal the smart toilet could allow for continuous health monitoring of human urine and stool and report findings from a small survey of test users on their comfort level with the device.


The smart toilet is an ordinary model equipped with a range of visible tools, such as an anus camera and urinalysis strip, fitted inside the bowl. With the help of motion detectors and pressure sensors, the tools deploy a range of tests that can determine the health of excreta. Urine samples, for instance, will undergo molecular analysis to check for a number of biomarkers, which includes protein, nitrite, and leukocytes — important to detect kidney function and diagnose urinary tract infections. Stool will be assessed on its physical characteristics, such as color and consistency, which can help diagnose gastrointestinal disorders, infections, and cancers.

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