"I bet in 2021, we'll have flying cars." Nope, but we do have Japanese toilets that measure your level of fatigue via your butt. Close enough, or something. According to a report from SoraNews 24, which follows oddball Japanese happenings and writes for English-speaking audiences, this new toilet rolled out at the Kanagawa Prefecture's Ebina Service Area, which is about 45 minutes outside of Tokyo. There, drivers can stop for a snack, take a rest and have the toilets measure how tired they are.
According to the website's first-hand experience, a user opts in via a touchscreen to have the sensors do their thing... while the individual does theirs. The process takes a minute and fires up vibration sensors built into the toilet seat, which measure "pulse fluctuations" to calculate a person's fatigue level. Choose your age bracket, tell the system if you feel tired or not, and the program kicks off.
While running, a message explains what the toilet is actually looking for. Specifically, "the tension of the sympathetic nervous system increases and the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system decreases," in a fatigued state. The sensors look for fluctuations to analyze, and then the toilet spits out a result telling the user if they're tired, somewhat tired or not tired at all.
It's hardly cutting-edge medical advice, but it is a nice reminder to perhaps take a 20-minute break from driving. This particular rest stop, according to the blog, is a notorious place to stop with many other attractions, including some amazing-looking melon bread. Come for the fatigue-measuring toilets, stay for the melon bread.