In the ongoing quest to make toilets as automated as possible, collaboration between two Japanese companies has resulted in a new gesture-based technology that eliminates the need for touch when using buttons on control panels.

Shizuoka-based Murakami Corporation working in partnership with Parity Innovations, has developed a contactless control system for high-tech Japanese toilets, which are known for their smart functions.

The Floating Pictogram Technology (FPT) enables the control panel interface to be floated up as hologram-like images in the air so that the buttons can be operated by the user without physically touching the panel.

According to a statement released by Murakami, key features of the contactless FPT system include a bright and highly visible air floating image system; patent pending spatial sensing technology that narrows down the position of a finger operated in the air using a proprietary algorithm and realises a high-speed response; and simple system configuration that can be easily deployed for multiple product applications.

In the current pandemic environment, this touchless technology will enhance hygiene and minimise risk of infection in a broad range of applications ranging from public toilets, elevators and ATMs to cash registers, self-ordering kiosks and hospital registrations among many more.

In February 2021, Murakami began supplying contactless FPT system samples for a fee for evaluation by manufacturers and hospitals. The technology is expected to be commercially available in 2022.

Photographs: Murakami Corporation