Former urology teacher Seung-min Park received an Ig Nobel prize for his work on the Precision Well being rest room, a “sensible rest room” machine able to detecting illnesses from excreta. Park is an incoming school member at Nanyang Technological College.
The Ig Nobel Prize is a play on the phrase “ignoble” that additionally pays homage to the celebrated Nobel Prize. The prizes are awarded to tasks that contain unconventional and humorous scientific developments.
“The factor is, I’m truly very comfortable [to receive the prize],” Park stated, citing a need to destigmatize public scientific dialogue of human waste. He’s engaged on a e book chronicling the challenge entitled “The Throne Revolution: Sensible Healthcare Innovation in Bathrooms.”
Sensible bogs could possibly be the most recent addition to the sensible residence ecosystem by passively monitoring residents’ waste. The idea was initially put forth by Sanjiv Sam Gambhir, a professor and chair of radiology at Stanford who handed away from most cancers in 2020.
Based on Park, the sensible rest room is just not a alternative for a health care provider’s prognosis, however is a screening device to triage sufferers.
In lieu of an everyday lavatory, a affected person will sit on or stand in entrance of the sensible rest room. When a person releases excreta, an intricate system of cameras, sensors, laptop imaginative and prescient and machine studying will seize and course of knowledge.
Marc Abrahams created the Ig Nobel Prize and is the Grasp of Ceremonies. He wrote that the sensible rest room “is a below-the-gut-level answer to necessary issues AND it offers folks necessary questions to consider — productively — whereas they do their day by day enterprise.”
Based on Abrahams, Park was chosen as an Ig winner after quite a few nominations.
The sensible rest room performs urinalysis and uroflowmetry. In urinalysis, the bathroom deploys and retracts a strip that turns into soaked in urine. The strip is learn for a colorimetric change, which might display throughout 10 biomarkers to point presence of situations like diabetes. Uroflowmetry captures particulars of urine circulate reminiscent of circulate charges and time elapsed, which is utilized in analysis of urinary tract efficiency. It requires the location of two cameras on the bowl, and this setup slowed down Park and his workforce after they thought of seated customers. Such customers would have their genitalia utterly uncovered, so the workforce didn’t check uroflowmetry with them.
The sensible rest room may also carry out actual time defecation evaluation. A digital camera captures the stool because it falls into the commode, and through this time, it’s characterised by classes just like the Bristol Stool Type Scale and defecation length.
However who’s aware about the delicate info collected by the bathroom? Park stated the machine can be HIPAA-compliant, so solely clinicians and customers have entry to the info. Based on him, the machine inherently protects customers’ identities by not displaying their genitalia, however solely the excreta that falls.
Though Park and his collaborators underscore the potential of utilizing knowledge to boost affected person monitoring, “[t]here’s a actual threat to over-monitoring,” wrote Jessie Ge, a sixth-year urology resident, in an e mail to The Each day. Ge has provided scientific views within the sensible rest room challenge. Based on her, extreme surveillance might be related to affected person nervousness and over-diagnosis.
Walter Park, an affiliate professor of medication and gastroenterologist who has additionally been offering scientific views, sees future variations of the sensible rest room as being an “in-home laboratory that might ultimately let you know when you need to see a health care provider.”
A large number of illnesses stand to learn from detection by the sensible rest room. “I feel probably the most instant attraction is colon most cancers as a result of it’s fairly prevalent and [the colon] is probably the most proximal organ to the bathroom,” Walter Park stated.
Most cancers detection could not cease there. Based on Walter Park, secretions from the pancreas, liver, abdomen and even esophagus all move by means of the gut and might get excreted. Ergo in concept, most cancers of any of those organs could also be detectable from feces.
Urine could fairly actually be liquid gold in the case of illness detection, since in response to Walter Park, it’s a byproduct of blood filtration. As soon as urine detection turns into a actuality, “you possibly can measure doubtlessly any most cancers in an individual’s physique,” Park stated.
The sensible rest room may also reduce the onus for documentation by sufferers, resulting in increased high quality knowledge, in response to Ge. It’ll “assist quantify info which beforehand may solely be delivered subjectively by the affected person,” reminiscent of urination frequency and quantity, Ge wrote.
The invention has predictably been the butt of many jokes. Seung-min Park stated that, in January of 2022, “Stephen Colbert featured our expertise because the worst of [Consumer Electronics Show (CES)] 2022,” when in truth, “we had by no means been to CES.” CES is an annual commerce present held in Las Vegas that showcases new client electronics applied sciences.
Seung-min Park is engaged on broader purposes with NASA, doubtlessly to ship sensible bogs into area. Park says that since astronauts are subjected to extra excessive residing situations of photo voltaic radiation and microgravity, sensible bogs may assist monitor their well being.
For now, the expertise will function extra of a analysis device, Ge wrote. It is very important discern “whether or not extra frequent monitoring of the parameters measured by the sensible rest room truly helps to enhance [patient health] outcomes,” she wrote.
Ge wrote that sooner or later, she “would like to see this expertise primarily deployed to sufferers in additional rural or distant areas,” making healthcare extra accessible. Seung-min Park expects the system to value $200 to $500.