Toilet paper dispenser

Solving the age old problem of… wait, what problem are they solving? These students at UC Berkeley have built a toilet paper dispenser prototype. Not only does it meter out an exact amount for you, it will fold it and cut it as well. They mention this being the perfect accessory for a high tech bathroom, and we can agree. To be serious though, in public places, metering out limited amounts of toilet paper at a time could possibly result in major cost savings. We think the next prototype should have different preference settings such as; wadded, folded, or wrapped around your hand. Anyone else’s mind suddenly filled with unpleasant imagery?

[via Makezine]


  1. Kris says:

    Wow, just wow.

  2. Sc00ter says:
  3. Xeracy says:

    Holy mother of god!!! How much TP does one need for each wipe? I swear that was half a roll on each ‘metered amount’. In Los Angeles, we are forced to use ‘low flush’ toilets in our homes, and anything over a few squares of TP clogs these gov’t mandated crappy crappers because so little water is used to flush them. Methinks this project is a good lesson in mechanical engineering, but a waste of TP.

  4. gosh says:

    good lord. this has to be in the runing for the most useless thing posted on hackaday. seriously.

  5. @xeracy: yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

    Maybe when it says “metered amount” it actually meant 1 meter. Or possibly 2.

  6. Mick says:

    haha, that is sweet.

  7. TMH says:

    I like the chuckle at the end.

    This made me lol

  8. Josh says:

    Like this one, sc00ter?

    This one doesn’t fold it, but…

  9. PocketBrain says:

    “A” to middle school students for making this with Legos. “F” to college students for making this with legos. Time to graduate, people!

  10. Louis II says:

    I think you forgot to mention this video is over 2 years old… ;-)
    Criticism of device: a bit wasteful.

  11. frollard says:

    Neat concept but uses WAY WAY WAY too much paper.

    Low flow toilet or not – thats too much waste.

  12. absolute zero says:

    Anyone else notice it looks like the device broke at the end of the demo video? When the slicer finishes the cut, something falls off the right hand side of the device.

  13. AMediumPace says:

    Metering toilet paper is a bad idea because sometimes you need a few squares and sometime you have a bad case of “the wipes” and you need 30 feet of it. (depending on what you ate)

    What they need to do now is to create a bluetooth interface for this toilet paper dispenser and make an iPhone app which can control it wirelessly. That way, you could have an icon-based touch screen which lets you punch in a length or you could pre-program some commonly used amounts, like for example: Pressing the burrito icon gives me just 2 feet, but pressing the chips and hot salsa button provides me with the full 10 feet required for the job.

    Version 2 of this app would offer voice recognition and it would allow you to just describe the consistency of the stool. It would then provide a precise amount for your needs.

  14. Stephen says:

    Maybe scan the pot for consistancy and mass then use some math program to formulate the right ammount of tp +10%. You could also use those numbers to figure out a stop limit, so the stool wont ever get plugged up.

  15. TheFish says:

    what if it breaks wile you really need some. still neat though, it could keep people from using 5 miles of toilet paper at a time.

  16. loren says:

    Some prankster will probably adjust it for one sheet.

  17. nene says:

    The setting would also need to depend on the type of tp in the dispenser. For example, 1 ply industrial tp would require more, whereas that new 3 ply would require a lot less.

  18. Vonskippy says:

    Go bears! (’87 PHD Alumni)

  19. paul says:

    Surely this is only useful for if you want to take away TP if you have the sniffles? I wrap TP like that round my fingers if I can’t get hold of any tissues when I have a runny nose.

  20. Ayush says:

    I actually laughed…

    but for some reason I think I saw this a couple of years back

  21. therian says:

    It actually a good idea for public places
    because there is always someone who mess the roll + additional hygiene

  22. nebulous says:

    For some reason, this reminds me of Ryanair’s on-again-off-again plan to charge money for toilet use. In Ryanair’s case, they believe that people are faced with the choice: Pay money and urinate, or don’t pay and hold it. This is a false dichotomy. If I’m in a confined space and I need to ‘go’, I go. Their call as to where.

    In this case: Metering out toilet paper sounds fine, except that if it runs out and I need more, well, let’s just say that it’s going to get messy, I’ll wash up in the sink (guess that that’ll look like), after which I sue.

    Bad idea.

  23. sean says:

    lets not forget the essential iPoop for any high tech bathroom,

  24. Taylor says:

    I would have though this had already been made sometime in the past…

    but lol, i did :)

  25. nick says:

    wow you guys seriously over think pooping and wiping.

    +3 Internets to you all

  26. pwl says:

    “Anyone else’s mind suddenly filled with unpleasant imagery?”

    Not until you asked that question! ;-)

  27. erik says:

    hmm didn’t know they had regulations for toilets in california. i know my toilet has some serious horsepower then, cause that thing will flush a whole roll if i felt like it lol

  28. spiny norman says:

    @AMediumPace: Apple fans may be full of crap, but that doesn’t mean only iPhone owners need toilet paper. I just thought up a brilliant mod that replaces the motor drive with a free turning spindle, allowing the user to select the necessary amount, even during blackouts.

    Now if this thing twittered the number of sheets used, then I’d be impressed.

  29. skeptikal says:

    at least its not a wallet made out of an atari cart

  30. hw4u says:

    good lord. this has to be in the runing for the most useless thing posted on hackaday.

  31. byohazrd says:

    good lord. this has to be in the runing for the most necessary thing posted on the internets.

  32. Alo says:

    Made of lego’s huh :D
    Interesting concept

  33. clark says:

    Wow, you guys are about 2 years too late on this one.

  34. Wwhat says:

    yeah the amount of paper used is a nice starting point for his psychologist methinks, but I’m sure you can adjust it to a more modest use and it’s amusing and perfect way to show you are a technerd through and through :)

  35. Jordan says:

    that’s a lot of toliet paper for one asswipe, i use like 2 squares

  36. robert says:

    They don’t know how to use the seashells.

  37. TheBlunderbuss says:


    It’s bad enough I have to wait for a sheet of paper towel dispensed by a machine, after it doesn’t register the first 4 waves of my hand.
    I don’t want to wait _naked_.

    And when this thing breaks down because the sensor doesn’t work or the motor dies, you are sadly out of luck.


  38. error404 says:

    I have 3/6LPF dual flush toilets in my house, and they have no trouble flushing a ‘chips and hot salsa’ substaintial amount of TP. If you have low-flush toilets that clog often, get better toilets.

    A local fast food joint has replaced the TP rolls with a mini-kleenex dispenser. You get one little 1-ply sheet per pull. Fuckers, they should put a warning message on the stall door or something.

  39. kajer says:

    nobody is noticing the TP was in the INCORRECT underhand position?!

    major fail for UNDER rather than OVER

  40. walt says:

    what about us scruntchers? not everyone folds ya know.

  41. Louis II says:

    I noticed, but I didn’t want to get into any bickering matches with cat owners that insist they must do underhanded tp dispensing in order to prevent their cats from pre-dispensing it to the floor. Either way, though, the cat people are clearly wrong for bowing to the cats and you assessment stands true.

  42. Joel says:

    >…mind suddenly filled with unpleasant imagery?

    Yes, but not like you think. My mind goes back to the mandatory memo that YT’s Mom has to read in the first half of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash.

    Unless you’re extremely comfortable around a webcam, the individual will have better information about how much paper they need than a machine will, as Mr. Stephenson so thoroughly and indirectly explains.

  43. Agent420 says:

    the usefulness may be debatable, but often that’s not what projects like this are all about anyway.

    I’m gonna give it points for the whole Rube Goldberg ‘paper path’, folding and cutting mech… pretty clever if you ask me.

  44. Doug says:

    That’s a generous wad of TP. Considering that some public restrooms have TP dispensers that actually limit you to 1 sheet per grab.

  45. Lol, what if they could get it to wipe for you too haha

  46. MRE says:

    Japanese ‘smart toilets’ solve this problem simply by actually *washing* your bung hole, with a water nozzle. a few squares to dry you off (some even have an air hose to take care of that too) and you are off.

    I ask you: which is more environmentally friendly, a few cups of water, or 5 feet of toilet paper? Think about it… tp needs to be produced, shipped, purchased, and finally dealt with by the waste company after you use it.

  47. radable says:

    Bill Gates would probably comment on the paper length as well… but it’s definitely more about the water:

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