When future civilizations look back at the year 2019, it is likely they will point to devices like Kohler’s Numi 2.0 Intelligent Toilet as examples of just how crazy things got in the later stages of Silicon Valley’s Golden Age of Disruption. “What were they thinking?” they will ask. And they will be right to ask. The answer is not obvious.
Retailing for roughly $8,000, the Numi 2.0 features WIFI, Amazon Alexa voice capability, mood-lighting, personalization features and an impressive array of sensors. Do consumers really want or need any of these features? We’re not sure.
It’s possible that in the year 2050, all toilets will be intelligent and features like WIFI, voice recognition and mood lighting will be commonplace and widely accepted but call us slightly skeptical.
To be sure, experts predict that sensors linked to your household commode could one day be useful for detecting telltale changes in your nutritional health and alert your doctor to early warning signs of disease, but for now the technology behind the Numi 2.0 is largely focused on personalization and the gimmick factor. Most shoppers will find the $8,000 price tag just a little excessive.
For our money, the Toilet of the Future has been on the market for years, tweaked to near perfection by designers in Japan. If you’re looking for a modestly priced futuristic toilet, the entry level Toto Neorest “Wonder Toilet” is available for roughly a third of the retail price of the Numi 2.0 — around $2000 when ordered through Amazon. The Toto Neorest features adjustable seat temperature, his and her Wonder spray functionality, hands free flush and warm air blow dry and more. It won’t talk to you. And it can’t yet synch to your Amazon account or your Spotify playlist. But we think we’re okay with that.