Bill Gates wants to reinvent the toilet

Bill Gates wants to change how you do business yet again. Researchers from all over the world gathered in Seattle today to participate in the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Reinvent the Toilet Fair.

As strange as it sounds, reinventing the toilet has become something of a passion for Gates over the last year or so, and it goes hand in hand with saving millions of young lives. And if you're living in a third world country, it might not sound strange at all - Gates says that unsanitary toilets account for the deaths of 1.5 million children every year. Even though it's a little taboo to talk about toilets, you do what you've gotta do. And for 40% of the world, the toilets we all know and love just don't cut it.

"The flush toilets we use in the wealthy world are irrelevant, impractical and impossible for 40 percent of the global population, because they often don't have access to water, and sewers, electricity, and sewage treatment systems," Gates wrote on his blog, The Gates Notes A toilet for the modern world has a lot to live up to; it has to be sustainable, and affordable enough to deploy into poor countries. And while it's saving lives in Africa, the toilet of the future will be saving water on the home front, since a modern flush toilet wastes about 10 times the amount of water needed to keep a person alive each day.

So, the Gates Foundation decided that it was time to call together the best and brightest minds in the world to solve the problem. And so the Reinvent the Toilet Fair was born, and it's already producing some interesting results. As the event kicked off, Bill Gates awarded prizes to three universities who had been working on projects to transform, uh, 'waste,' into something useful.

The California Institute of Technology came in first, with a toilet that generates hydrogen and electricity, while Loughborough University's charcoal-producing toilet came in second, followed closely by the University of Toronto's toilet, which 'sanitizes' poop and creates clean water and 'resources,' whatever the hell that means. We're not sure that we want to know. The Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, meanwhile, earned itself an honorable mention for its outstanding achievements in 'toilet user-interface.

As funny as that sounds, we've got to point out one more time that this is serious business, and we've got to commend Gates for using his influence and resources to do great things. It really doesn't get any better than saving lives, even if it is because he's helping to build a better toilet. Nothing embarrassing in that.

Via: Huffington Post
Source: The Gates Notes

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41 Comments

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people in africa would problably drink water out of the toilet.

the hunger/thirst issue is more important than this. not saying this is gates fault or anything.

Actually its a very good idea. its the same idea as recycling. Good thinking bill gates. Remember in the future every person is responsible for producing its own energy.

laserfloyd said,
It's Bill Gates, not Microsoft. Reading comprehension?
People don't understand that Bill Gates is not working with Microsoft anymore. When they hear the name Bill Gates, it gets process in their mind as Microsoft

ahhell said,
Try reading the article before commenting. You aren't being clever either.

Try taking a crash course in politeness and common sense from your parents. You are the one being clueless.

The sad thing is as a complete techie windows fan I am actually more interested in this story then the news that Windows 8 is released today.

SonicSam said,
The sad thing is as a complete techie windows fan I am actually more interested in this story then the news that Windows 8 is released today.

Then I'm happy for you.

Guys, this thing has really nothing to do about Microsoft, so all your Microsoft, Windows and BSOD comments are not relevant to this post.

Jarrichvdv said,
Guys, this thing has really nothing to do about Microsoft, so all your Microsoft, Windows and BSOD comments are not relevant to this post.

Haters gonna hate. They don't give a damn. If it's Bill Gates, it's Microsoft/Windows/BSOD.

*facepalm*

My god... if I don't have to fix another damn toilet again, I'd be sooooo happy! Hate messing with crappy components in those tanks...

Greetings from China. Here we have a new type of toilet that's in use in several "SilverCare" facilities for the elderly. This new toilet does chemical analysis of your stools and reports the results over the Internet. Fantastic.

This brings a whole new meaning to the phrases "log on to the Internet" and "IP address".

While this is not really tech news, its still pretty awesome to see someone as rich and successful as Gates so committed to something that doesn't benefit those that helped make him rich. 40% isn't a majority either, which makes it clear that his intentions are to save lives instead of lining his pockets. He makes other billionaires look ... selfish.

40% isn't majority.. um what? The rest isn't affected in the first place. So 40% is basically 100% of the affected people.

I imagine it to be an epic undertaking to produce high resolution graphics across the entire Office suite. There's probably little incentive to invest man hours updating the existing version to support the rMBP when it's only one tiny little drop in the ocean. It'd make sense to me if they just built the next Office version with support because by that time perhaps a much larger range of Macs would have retina displays.

Steeley said,
I imagine it to be an epic undertaking to produce high resolution graphics across the entire Office suite. There's probably little incentive to invest man hours updating the existing version to support the rMBP when it's only one tiny little drop in the ocean. It'd make sense to me if they just built the next Office version with support because by that time perhaps a much larger range of Macs would have retina displays.

Throwing a stone, missed the sea, hit a boat.

Steeley said,
I imagine it to be an epic undertaking to produce high resolution graphics across the entire Office suite. There's probably little incentive to invest man hours updating the existing version to support the rMBP when it's only one tiny little drop in the ocean. It'd make sense to me if they just built the next Office version with support because by that time perhaps a much larger range of Macs would have retina displays.

http://www.neowin.net/news/mac...office-crave-retina-support

No such thing as a BSOD now, even that has been 'Metroed', its now a MSOD! Essentially, you get the same, but in boxes and garish colours, and 'touch' to reboot, but not fix One BIG Toilet really

warwagon said,
Sounds like a ****ty idea.... get it...****ty?

no more Blueloo, just Bluescreens.

"I'm sorry, windows was not able to accept you poo, please take it with you when you leave"