I was just in another bathroom at a grocery store where the paper towels are motion activated, by the toilet and sink are still manual use. I found myself waving my hand under the sink to get it going, while waiting for the toilet to flush. I was confused.
Many bathrooms across the US have only sparsely embraced bathroom automation. Every so often, you will get a toilet that surprises you mid-wipe with a flush. I always find myself jumping away from the toilet in case it splatters. I know 9 times out of 10, the toilet doesn’t splatter onto the floor, but I heard stories.
What is the technological direction that bathrooms are going? Are people phasing out the manual operations or phasing them in? I am not sure what people think of them. Personally, I can go either way. For the sink, I may want to fill up a cup and a manual operation is ideal for that. For the toilet, I think I like it to flush on its own, but when I want to pee in an auto toilet and lean away, it feels weird that it flushes so readily.
A paper towel dispenser is fun to wave my hand in front. I always get a consistent size sheet with the auto service. Some are designed to give long extractions of sheets and others are rather short.
I have even been in a bathroom where the lights are automated. Some people are jerks about their automated lights and set the system to 10 seconds, like this bathroom in Rice Lake:
A fully automated bathroom can be nice and easy to use. It just depends on the settings the owner chooses for them. For example, at Walmart, they have their sensors set at a low sensitivity for hand washing, and the water sprays out only a second at a time. Whereas, at a public Bathroom in South. Bend, WA has a motion detector faucet that will run a good 5 seconds after you pull your hand away.
I prefer the longer running settings. They really show that the business owner cares about us cleaning our hands, rather than saving money on water. Or adding an extra inch or second to the hand dryers can be nice.
There is a lot of potential with more bathroom automation. I believe in one bathroom in Aberdeen, WA, they use a motion detector. If you hang out in the bathroom for longer than 5 minutes, an alarm will sound. They had a problem with drug abusers sleeping in the bathrooms in the past.
Imagine a temperature gauge with a motion detection that will heat up the bathroom only when someone is in there. Or, in turn the sensor can run a fan only when you sit on the toilet. A person could use a Kinect for that. The Kinect sensors have gotten very effective at reading the smallest gestures, down to individual finger movement.