When Bill & Melinda Gates announced to the world that they were looking for a toilet to revolutionise world sanitation, scientists and Designer boffs went ‘flushing crazy.’

The ‘Reinvent the Toilet Challenge‘ of 2012 came about upon the realisation that the modern day toilet doesn’t work for over 40% of the world’s population. The reliance on a fully functioning sewer system and an endless supply of clean water being the main stopping blocks. The inventors were given 1 year to come up with a solution.

The challenge was :-

Create a toilet that doesn’t rely on piped water, sewer, or electrical connections. And while you’re at it, fashion something useful from the waste that goes in. Energy and water might be nice.

After a whole host of innovative, clever entries the California Institute of Technology in the United States received the $100,000 first prize for their solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity. Loughborough University won the $60,000 second place prize for their design that produces biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water. University of Toronto won the third place prize of $40,000 for a toilet that sanitizes human waste and recovers resources and clean water.

The Toilet evolution, doesn’t stop there! Last year a design student re-invented the basic toilet design to incorporate the beneficial attributes from both the ‘sit’ and the ‘squat’ method. I’m sure a lot of us have visited Foreign countries and been shocked to find a ‘hole in the ground’, instead of a comfortable seat to do our business. Well medical experts state that squatting is a far more natural position to be in to empty the bowels, and sitting is in fact restricting the movement.

Peter Codling, a recent graduate of London’s Royal College of Art, calls his invention the Penseur and whilst seating the user in a more squat-like position, his invention has all the mod cons such as an integrated, adjustable water pressure bidet. Following hot on the heels of a similar invention, The Squatty Potty, the Penseur look set to make it’s mark in bathroom design.

Whatever way you choose to sit, and however much you may want to avoid the subject- toilets are a ‘can’t do without’ utility so it’s worth taking note.