Wireless toilet occupancy sensor

toilet-occupancy-sensor

It’s a bit awkward for all parties involved if someone is waiting right outside the bathroom door. This system helps to alleviate that issue by letting the next user know when the loo is available. [Akiba] has been working with the folks at Loftworks, a design company in Tokyo, to get the status beacons seen above up and running.

The staff is mostly women and there is just one single stall women’s toilet on each of the three floors. The boxes above represent the three stalls, using colored light to indicate if a bathroom is available or in use. Detection is based on a PIR motion sensor in each stall. They communicate back with the display units wirelessly, which initially presented quite a problem. The doors on the bathroom are steel, and when closed they effectively block communications. The 900 MHz radios used in the system are on theĀ 802.15.4 protocol. But they can be set a couple of different ways by moving resistors. Each came configured for the fasted data throughput, but that’s not really necessary. By changing to a slower configuration [Akiba] was able to fix the communications problems.

We remember seeing a similar bathroom indicator in a links post some time ago.

24 thoughts on “Wireless toilet occupancy sensor

  1. How about 3 LEDS in each display, Green one for bathroom all clear, yellow one for stall clear but bathroom occupied, and red one for stall occupied? Some people like empty bathrooms not just stalls.

  2. If someone is sitting on the loo and not moving would the pir fail to trigger and think there is no one there

    1. You can adjust the response time of PIR sensors,and most people would move about a bit at some point during any activity, and I guess we have to accept some error in the rare cases and when they find it’s occupied anyway you must wait closer to the door after all.

  3. What if you pass away on the toilet like Elvis, though? You won’t trigger the motion sensor and it sets up an awkward situation.

    1. How do you mean awkward? People will think it’s empty, try the door, it is locked, they say ‘sorry’ and there is no reply and so the body is found sooner than normal you would expect.
      Or if it’s in a government/EU/UN building/McDonalds and the person is OD’ing might be saved even by the prompt find.

  4. I’m going to go ahead and assume this actually uses a hidden camera over IP (pun intended) and monitored by cheap labour overseas. Of course the USA gov’t will undoubtedly monitor the traffic, at which point wikileaks reveals that Obama has been personally watching you poo, and CNN launches an incredible smear campaign.

  5. With one bathroom on each floor, and no way to signal that you’re heading to a different bathroom from your current floor, this could be a good real life demo of the “thundering herd problem”.

    How about an indicator light in the bathrooms too, that goes on when all bathrooms are occupied, as a signal to hurry up and get the hell out? Or maybe that’s only needed with women in the US.

  6. Why not just tie the circuit for the lights to the lock on the stall doors? Works well enough for the mechanical indicators on port-a-johns.

    1. Entirely sensible and a simpler design, but I’d guess that using a PIR was quicker and easier to implement than rigging up a switch to the lock.

  7. Instead of playing around with the radios to get the signal through the steel couldn’t you physically wire the PIR through the steel and then use the radios on the outside?

  8. This should be done with a mobile app and/or a desktop icon, why should people have to strain their necks to see if the light is on?

  9. Should have flush sensor that alarms and sets off red flashing beacon if someone exits without flushing . Think submarine dive warning .. Aaaauuuuga … Aaaauuuuga …

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