Robrt L. Pela

All wet

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That cacophony of cheers you hear may be the rejoicing of multi-taskers everywhere. Several new inventions have recently hit the market, each designed to increase productivity in that most time-sucking place in your home: the bathroom. 

Go-getters who’ve long resented the minutes wasted while bathing will be thrilled with Aqua Notes, an already-bestselling, waterproof notepad that allows the busy-minded to organize their thoughts while shampooing, make a shopping list while rinsing off, or – as the brand’s packaging giddily suggests – “draw, sketch, or doodle in the shower!” No more soggy notes scribbled onto a plain old paper pad left on the back of the toilet; the 21st century has provided us with new technologies that will help banish our need to focus on trivial matters like bathing.

Reading on the toilet is no longer enough, either. Those who want to combine their morning yoga stretches with another daily chore will be thrilled with Adjustable Advantage, which, according to a press release, allows its users to “improve your posture while using the toilet!” The movable seat improves blood flow, reduces knee pain and relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve – all while one is relieving oneself!

President Lyndon Johnson, it’s been rumored, used to conduct business meetings while on the john. Perhaps, inspired by this early form of multi-tasking, Japanese toilet designers have come up with the Toto Intelligent Toilet, a pricey device that not only provides wi-fi access (thus enabling users to Skype into office meetings or just chat with friends), but also allows its owner to skip annual trips to the doctor. The Toto device includes a special receptacle inside the bowl that collects urine, then tests it for sugar content and elevated temperatures. An armband attached to the commode monitors blood pressure, and a scale built into the seat measures body weight. Toto is reportedly working on an updated version that will automatically e-mail these test results to one’s general practitioner.

Finally, for those who find showering an unbearable time-waster, there’s the new Horizontal Shower from a German bathroom fittings firm called Dornbracht, which allows its owner to nap while also getting clean. The invention’s low, narrow stall employs what Dornbracht calls “water bars” that spray bathers horizontally. Water temperature and intensity are controlled by a high-tech control panel at face-height; settings include “Relax” and “De-Stress,” both of which are certainly necessary for people who work so hard they can afford a shower stall that costs $35,000.

How long, one wonders, before these time-saving contraptions are combined? Will 2013 bring us a reclining shower stall fitted with a wi-fi-enhanced toilet, one that allows us to teleconference while bathing, and includes a mechanized flossing attachment and a mute button to mask flatulence?

We’re counting the minutes.

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