We have come a very long way from the garderobe.
You see them on castles here: little rooms built at the very edge of a high floor with a clear drop between it and the moat. And at its foot a hole: not big enough for someone to drop through, but quite large enough for us to jettison the lavatorial.
Can you imagine sitting there, on the edge of a little man made precipice, trying not to look down the hole?
I feel sorry for the pike in the moat.
Technology took that strange mediaeval luxury, and transformed it into what sits in my house: a water closet. A white porcelain networker, linked up chummily to every other toilet in my street. I can push a small discreet flush and everything simply disappears, and the pike are safe to frown another day. Water takes it I know not where and does I know not what to it.
Like a car, I can drive one but I’m a little shaky as to what’s under the bonnet.
And now, with the advent of wireless technology and mobile phones, the toilet has taken another giant leap into the future. And we have even less idea what lies beneath.
Enter Lixil: a multinational company which makes the most amazing toilets. Environmentally friendly, sleek, stylish, they are thrones to thrill to.
And now, you don’t even have to touch them to flush them.
With app MySatis, you can bluetooth the toilet.
You can send short-wave radio transmissions from your phone to the lavatory and it will flush, no hands. Thus leaving you toilet-germ-free, though admittedly your phone is a hotbed of personal pathogens.
And not only that, but you can get the app to lift the toilet lid. I’m serious. And naturally, you can turn on soap, water and air drying when required, though my mind is still coming to terms with the practicality of such a move. And here’s the thing: you can play music.
There’s an app for everything these days.
But we all remember Westworld. Technology can backfire.
They worked out that the pin code for the £3800 toilets is hard-wired to 0000.
Thus any hacker can make any Satis toilet perform, at will. “An attacker could simply download the My Satis application and use it to cause the toilet to repeatedly flush, raising the water usage and therefore utility cost to its owner,” it says in its report.
“Attackers could [also] cause the unit to unexpectedly open/close the lid, activate bidet or air-dry functions, causing discomfort or distress to [the] user.”
The thought of someone else being able to control the toilet seat when it is supposed to be my sole domain?
It’s enough to send one running to the nearest castle in search of the garderobe.