Advancements in electronics now extend to the bathroom; in particular, the toilet.

The toilet has changed over the past decade and incorporates electronics to provide heated seats, water-saving dual flushing systems, automatic flushing and even remote controls. Toto is the world’s largest toilet manufacturer. Based in Kitakyushu Japan, it owns production facilities in nine countries. The Toto Washlet is an innovative toilet seat that offers a highly advanced system in hygiene and comfort. The toilet seat features an integrated bidet (a triggered nozzle, similar to that on a kitchen sink sprayer that delivers a spray of water to assist in cleaning your backside) that leaves you fresh and rejuvenated.

Toilets in Japan are generally more elaborate than toilets in other developed nations. Some people in Japan refer to the new toilets as electronic toilets. The popularization of the electric toilet started during the 1990s in Japan. The current state of the art for Western-style toilets is the bidet toilet, which, as of March 2016, is installed in 81.2% of Japanese households. Hotels, department stores, airports and hospitals upgraded to the Washlet, and its popularity is spreading in Asian countries including Korea, Taiwan and China.

I never found a Washlet in any American home except my own. No public bathrooms have electric toilets in the states. It’s a mystery to me why American people don’t use the Washlet. The American pubic are interested in upgrades to the toilet – look at the Squatty Potty, a simple invention that uses no electronics, and the product reached $33 million in sales at the end of 2017. Once you use the Washlet, you will never go without one.

I suppose there could be remarkable business opportunities in the US. The system consumes a lot of sensors, actuators and pumps. The controller system is waterproof and is highly reliable. The only other difference between American bathrooms and Japanese bathrooms is the bathtub. Japanese consumers have been installing electronic controlling systems for bathtubs over the past two decades. They are very popular in Japanese homes. In Japan, bathing is important bonding time between small children and their parents. Technology is at the heart of the Japanese bathroom. Speaking digital control panels in the bathroom and kitchen (or hallway) allow the user to set the hot water temperature and fill the bath remotely.

Electronics can now make bathroom use more convenient and safe.

Dominique K. Numakura

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DKN Research,

DKN Research Newsletter #1808, April 1, 2018 (English Edition) (Micro Electronics & Packaging) 

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Headlines of the Week

1. NSG (Major glass product supplier in Japan) developed the world's thinnest transparent glass electrode (0.7mm thick) using CVD process of metal oxide compound.

2. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) codeveloped and commercialized the laser patterning system for the plasma dicing process in the semiconductor manufacturing.

3. TIT and Waseda University (Japan) developed a new quick thin silicon film generation process for photovoltaic cells. The process can generate wafer class quality.

4. Toppan Printing (Major printing company in Japan) agreed with Excelgy Power System Co. to co-develop the next generation secondary batteries.

5. Fujitsu (Major electronics company in Japan) introduced AI technologies to design the materials of the all solid state lithium ion batteries with high ion conductivity.

6. AGC (Major glass material supplier in Japan) will invest for Novel Crystal Technologies to co-develop gallium oxide wafers for the next generation power semiconductor devices.

7. ZMP (Electronic module manufacturer in Japan) rolled out the stereo camera module “RoboVision 2S” for distance measurement systems of the automobiles.

8. Panasonic (Major electronics company in Japan) commercialized the new small size thin film chip resistors with high precision for power source modules of automobiles industrial robots. Size: 1.0 x 0.5mm.

9. TDK (Major device manufacturer in Japan) started volume production of the ferrite base chip inductors, “MLD2016 Series” for automobile power sources. Size: 2.0 x 1.25 x 0.5 mm

10. Sharp (Major electronics company in Japan) achieved the highest conversion rate (25.09%) of the photovoltaic cell with 6 inch single crystal silicon wafer.

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