May 20, 2009 "Men are never so serious, thoughtful, and intent, as when they are at stool." We wonder whether this quote from Swift's classic satire Gulliver's Travels influenced the thinking behind Go With the Flo - a self-sustaining toilet concept from students at ASU College of Design that calls on yoga principles in its quest to define the lavatory of the future.

The designers say that using this transcendental commode is "akin to yoga" because its ergonomics require a squatting position that strengthens abdominal and back muscles.

But it's not all about finding your moment of clarity and striking a yoga pose - the well being of the planet is also on the agenda. The sustainable design reuses water from hand washing and needs just one-half to one gallon of water for flushing. It's also free of mechanical parts and independent of electric power, with flushing dealt with via an electromagnetic ball valve.

“We hope our design will alter the toilet archetype by the year 2030,” says John Takamura, design team leader and assistant professor of industrial design in the ASU College of Design.

The Go With the Flo™ team - John Takamura and Dosun Shin, College of Design faculty members, and Tamara Christensen and Dean Bacalzo, Master of Science in Design students - were recently received the Northwest Design Invitational (NDI) Breaking the Rules Silver Award in recognition of the aesthetics, innovation and ecological responsibility of the design.

Noel McKeegan