Good Thinking

Iota aims to make the toilet smaller, more efficient

Iota aims to make the toilet s...
Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
View 17 Images
Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
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Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
Though a concept at present, Humphreys and Whiteley have submitted a patent application for their design
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Though a concept at present, Humphreys and Whiteley have submitted a patent application for their design
The flushing mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into the upright position
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The flushing mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into the upright position
There's an air-tight seal to ensure that the waste stays right where it needs to be
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There's an air-tight seal to ensure that the waste stays right where it needs to be
An image of the Iota in a typical bathroom
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An image of the Iota in a typical bathroom
The folding bowl contains an inbuilt U bend that disengages from the waste pipe
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The folding bowl contains an inbuilt U bend that disengages from the waste pipe
When the flush mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into its upright position, the U bend reengages simultaneously
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When the flush mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into its upright position, the U bend reengages simultaneously
Iota has been entered into the RSA's Re-invent the Toilet competition
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Iota has been entered into the RSA's Re-invent the Toilet competition
Iota takes up just a third of the space of a standard toilet when not in use
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Iota takes up just a third of the space of a standard toilet when not in use
It's also far more efficient, and the designers reckon that Iota could save an impressive 10,000 liters (2,641 US gallons) per person, per year, in typical use
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It's also far more efficient, and the designers reckon that Iota could save an impressive 10,000 liters (2,641 US gallons) per person, per year, in typical use
Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
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Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
Though a concept at present, Humphreys and Whiteley have submitted a patent application for their design
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Though a concept at present, Humphreys and Whiteley have submitted a patent application for their design
The flushing mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into the upright position
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The flushing mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into the upright position
Iota has been entered into the RSA's Re-invent the Toilet competition
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Iota has been entered into the RSA's Re-invent the Toilet competition
It took thousands of years for the humble toilet to evolve into what we use today, but there's always room for improvement
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It took thousands of years for the humble toilet to evolve into what we use today, but there's always room for improvement
Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
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Iota was designed as a final-year project at the UK's University of Huddersfield
Iota takes up just a third of the space of a standard toilet when not in use
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Iota takes up just a third of the space of a standard toilet when not in use
View gallery - 17 images

It took thousands of years for the humble toilet to evolve into the model we use today, but there's always room for improvement. With this in mind, Gareth Humphreys and Elliott Whiteley produced the Iota: a folding toilet concept that's smaller and more efficient than the typical loo.

Designed as a final-year project while Humphreys and Whiteley studied at the UK's University of Huddersfield, the Iota sports a novel folding flush mechanism that moves the entire toilet into an upright position. This also means it takes up just a third of the space of a standard toilet when not in use – perhaps making it a good fit for enthusiasts of tiny homes.

The Iota is also far more efficient, using just 2.5 liters (0.6 US gallons) of water per flush, compared to 6 liters (1.6 US gallons) for an average toilet. The designers reckon that Iota could save an impressive 10,000 liters (2,641 US gallons) per person, per year, in typical use.

The flushing mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into the upright position
The flushing mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into the upright position

The folding bowl contains a built-in U bend that disengages from the waste pipe when in the seated position. When the flush mechanism is activated by folding the toilet into its upright position, the U bend reengages simultaneously. There's an air-tight seal to ensure that the waste stays right where it needs to be.

Though a concept at present, Humphreys and Whiteley have submitted a patent application for their design, and the pair are looking to sell the idea in the future. In the meantime, Iota has been entered into the RSA's Re-invent the toilet competition.

The demonstration video below was created by Humphreys and Whiteley's animation company.

Source: Behance via Design Boom

Iota - Folding Toilet

View gallery - 17 images
19 comments
BeWalt
Nice design, and saving water is always good.
However, a large sliding seal like the one needed inside this unit is the worst idea ever since the invention of the flush toilet.
And all the while not taking advantage of the only other potential benefit such a design could have: Using the space when not using the toilet. Shape it so it can be used as a seat when the toilet is flipped up.
sk8dad
I concur. moving parts in the drainage plumbing = job security for plumbers.
Michael Crumpton
Is there actually demand for a folding toilet? I have lived in places with tiny bathrooms, but all were very low rent places, and this does not look cheap. If they really wanted to make something useful, a self cleaning toilet is a winner. Nobody likes cleaning toilets.
Leanne
I think the concept is very good. It would be excellent for ensuite bathrooms where space can be a problem. I do however have a concern with the design. The gap at the back where the wall and floor join could be a real grime catcher. May I suggest that the design sit flush with the wall so there is no space. Water, dirt (and whatever) could collect after time and create quite a health hazard. I also agree that if the 'top' could be redesigned so you could use it for a seat or to temporarily put things on it, this would improve the usability. Good luck with the plumbing!
Mel Tisdale
Agreed, the air-tight seal is absolutely guaranteed to wear out with rather unpleasant results.
Also, the design requires twice the water usage than that stated because there would be the overwhelming desire to pull it down again to use the toilet brush and thus ensure that one had not left a record of one's 'performance' on the throne, to put it as delicately as I can, or less delicately: WTSHTP.
n2liberty
This will be rejected by many people because you cannot flush while sitting on it. The seal is a big concern. What happens when the pipe clogs during a flush? The waste valve makes it impossible to use a plunger or drain snake. Now a tankless toilet that sits next to the wall that would be a winner.
JPAR
pardon my language, but that tight u-bend looks like a bottleneck for any large floaters
Ritchard Mckie
I don't want to have to touch a toilet, these toilets need to be designed better for men to use.
Robert in Vancouver
Interesting. But I can think of some major problems and concerns, some are mentioned by others here.
Plus, I can't see any need for this.
sidmehta
Sorry, the idea is false. When you pull it down to sit on you still need as much room, probably more because of the design. So it doesn't really save space and probably takes up more.
Second, as people have pointed out you need to touch the toilet -- the trend is now towards auto-flush toilets where you don't need to touch.
Finally, it would be a real problem when you pull a muscle in your back - you can't even flush it until you fold it back. A problem for the elderly and kids too.