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  • Writer's pictureAtchareeya Jattuporn

Assignment 1 : Observe the toilet

This week, Themis and I observed ITP woman toilet together to analyze the interaction with the various sensors in there. We decided to analyze every component in the toilet which includes toilet flusher, paper towel dispenser, soap dispenser, and faucet in order to get various choices when we have to upgrade them.

After the discussion about the interaction in the toilet, we decided to write our analysis separately. My parts is toilet flusher and paper towel dispenser. (Check out Themis's blog here!)

Toilet Flusher

Possible sensor: Proximity sensor

The toilet flusher in our building is simply an automatic flushing system that will flush automatically when people finish using the toilet without touching any button. Our assumption about the sensor using in this toilet is the proximity sensor which detects the presence of the nearby object. The toilet supposes to flush after people finish using the toilet and stand up.


Problems we found

- The toilet might flush when people move their bodies or change posture while sitting on the toilet. It might cause the sensor to detect the difference distance.

- For some people who skinny, the sensor sometimes can not detect the torso of the user.

- Sometimes when people stand up the toilet is not flushing and people have to wait inside for a while.

Trick !

if you standing and the toilet is not flushing, you might have to step to the side and standing facing the facade of the toilet. The sensor might detect the difference between the previous distance and flush!

Paper Towel Dispenser

Possible sensor: Motion Sensor

The Paper Towel Dispenser is the automatic machine that giving toilet paper to the user. On the machine, there is three signal. The first is an error signal. The second is the status sign which lights up when the paper is running. The third is for the battery status. The interaction with the machine is there is some paper hanging from the dispenser. The machine will detect when the user grabs the paper and the new paper is running from the machine when there is no paper hanging.


This interaction happens only in the main woman toilet on the floor. While the other paper towel dispenser located in the kitchen and all-gender restroom have different interactions. Normally, there was no paper hanging from these machines. Instead, the user has to wave or put their hand in front of the machine and get the paper. Users can easily stop the machine by tearing the paper or it will stop automatically in some period of time.

Problems we found

- The interaction is logically strange when there is some paper waiting for us instead of getting a new fresh and clean paper.

- The user might confuse with the signage on the machine that shows the sign of waving hand but in real-life interaction, we don't need to wave to the machine.


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