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Image: Murakami Corporation

Hygiene is considered very important in everyday Japanese life, and there is nowhere else in the world with such convenient toilets. It did not take the current pandemic for everyone to know that hand contact can spread bacteria and viruses. Murakami Corporation is a well-known car parts supplier that has partnered with Kyoto-based start-up Parity Innovations to enhance hygiene in this aspect of life. They have developed a novel contactless interface system for Japanese toilets. The interface is intended to enable controls for rinsing, washing and drying functions without any direct contact, unlike previous typically button-operated panels.

The interface based on “floating-pictogram technology” employs the next-generation visual “air-floating image” method, making interfaces float in the air as symbols. Buttons and control panels can be operated without physical contact as a result. Comparable holographic displays could also prove useful for various other household appliances, allowing operation even with wet or dirty hands. Holographic upgrades could also be an idea for the bathroom for such things as showers. However, it might take a while for the technology to make it that far, as Murakami Corporation will not be mass-producing the displays until at least 2022, and the technology will likely be slow to spread outside of Japan.

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