Smart Toilet: A Disruptive Technology to Improve Health and Wellness (2019-2020)

Achieving the goals of health and wellness requires novel approaches to daily monitoring of analytical biomarkers from physiological fluids, which currently cannot be achieved using noninvasive approaches. Our daily excreta – feces and urine – are rich in latent data. In addition to biochemical markers, stool physical characteristics can contribute to the diagnosis and management of many acute and chronic GI conditions.

This project team created the “Smart Sampling Toilet” – a novel device that has the potential to transform healthcare as a noninvasive source of individualized biological data. This device employs hands-off extraction to collect samples of human excreta that can later be used for diagnosis of wellness and disease.

In 2019-2020, the team focused on the engineering development, quality control, refinement, business and regulatory strategy of the Smart Sampling Toilet platform. Team members developed key technical advancements that resulted in a working prototype toilet system and the demonstration of specimen extraction with no sample cross-over contamination overcoming a key technical risk of the approach.

The team also conducted multiple and diverse customer discovery interviews with stakeholders that highlighted the unmet need for automatic tracking of bowel movement particularly for elderly populations. These findings will guide the next stages of the iterative technology approach.  


Fall 2019 – Summer 2020

Team Outputs

Pulling Health Info from Poop (Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase 2020)

Developing the “Smart Toilet”: A Screening Tool for Health Monitoring (poster by Jacob Key, Jackson McNabb, Samarth Menta, Claire Yin)

This Team in the News

3 Ideas to Reduce Educational Disparities Post-Pandemic

Bass Connections Teams Share Research Highlights in a Virtual Showcase

Smart Toilet Saves Vital Health Data from Getting Flushed

Duke Researchers Working to Create ‘Smart Toilet’

Researchers' New 'Smart Toilet' Helps Pull Health Info from Poop

Fecal Matters: Learning about Health through Waste

See related team, Smart Toilet: A Disruptive Technology to Improve Health and Wellness (2020-2021).


Image: Katie Sellgren and colleagues, courtesy of Center for WaSH-AID

Katie Sellgren and colleagues.

Team Leaders

  • Geoffrey Ginsburg, School of Medicine-Medicine: Cardiology
  • Sonia Grego, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Katelyn Sellgren, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering

/graduate Team Members

  • Kaivalya Powale, Master of Engineering Mgmt-MEG
  • Tess Rogers, Juris Doctor
  • Vidhatri Subramanyam Bengaluru, Master of Engineering Mgmt-MEG

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Jacob Key
  • Jackson McNabb, Electrical & Computer Egr(BSE), Computer Science (BS2)
  • Samarth Menta
  • Megan Richards, Biomedical Engineering (BSE)
  • Claire Yin

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Holly Dressman, School of Medicine-Molecular Genetics and Microbiology
  • Jeffrey Glass, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering
  • Brian Stoner, Pratt School of Engineering-Electrical & Computer Engineering

/zcommunity Team Members

  • Douglas Calahan, Argo Systems
  • Eric Levitan, Argo Systems