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TU Wien Informatics team wins at the 2019 WINTEC

  • Social Responsibility
  • Awards

A team of TU Wien Informatics received the award for their innovative iToilet which helps older people live independently and with increased dignity.

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The winners and jury members of the 2019 WINTEC awards. © BKA/Bundespressedienst/Christopher Dunker.

The team around Paul Panek and Peter Mayer from the Human Computer Interaction research unit has been researching assistive technologies in the field of toilets for more than a decade: There is a great need for elderly people and people with disabilities in this field. However, research activities are surprisingly low - presumably because there are still taboos concerning the toilet topic. At this year's WINTEC Awards ceremony in September 2019, Minister of Social Affairs Brigitte Zarfl awarded the research team from TU Wien Informatics the second place for their project "iToilet".

Approach

Existing height and tilt adjustable toilet modules served as base for adding several significant enhancements and services, e.g. control via voice, automatic recognition of and adaptation to user preferences when entering the toilet room, recognition of potentially dangerous situations (e.g. a fall) and other functionalities (e.g. interface to care documentation, providing guidance to persons).

iToilet used a strictly user centred approach and included continuous ethical review and supervision. End-users were involved right from the beginning for eliciting user requirements and for participatory design activities. iToilet iteratively evaluated prototypes with end-users in a laboratory and in the field. The final prototype was tested over a period of 4 months involving 55 primary and 15 secondary as well as 9 tertiary end-users on 2 field test sites.

Expected Benefits

For primary end-users: support of body stability (individually adjustable height), support of sitting down and standing up process (dynamic adaptation of toilet), increased safety. For secondary users: The work load will be reduced and less physically demanding. Thirdly, for tertiary users (institutions) the toilet will enhance the care service offered and will enhance health and well-being of the employees by reduced physical demands during personal assistance provision (e.g. transfer wheelchair / toilet).

The business model aims at a modular product with scalability and customisation of the functionality and services according to the individual customer’s needs and wishes.

Published October 17, 2019