For those who generally struggle to squat on Indian toilets, one 25-year-old student from MIT School of Design has come to your rescue.
Satyajit Mittal has designed what he calls the first ever unidirectional toilet in the world, reported the Hindustan Times.
From the design point of view, the footrest of the regular toilet has seen an ergonomic development. It is elevated at an angle which makes it easier for the user to squat on. Besides, the toilet also has a universal demarcation to help the visually impaired access it.
The student came up with the unique idea to redesign the footrest while designing a problem-solving product for one of his courses at the institute called Special Needs. It was also at the time that the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and large-scale toilet construction were in full swing.
This piqued Satyajit’s curiosity about the state of sanitation in the country. He wanted to narrow down on one problem that was unresolved and tackle it with a smart design. While he initially started off designing a toilet for women, it was during the course of his research that he decided otherwise.
While clicking photographs of persons squatting from an inclined angle, he observed that a majority of people squat on their toes with their heels in the air. He discussed the physical consequences of this behavioural pattern with physiotherapists, following which he designed a new footrest for squat toilets.
Called SquatEase, this toilet design comes as a relief to several toe-squatters who don’t touch their heels to balance themselves on a toilet, which can put immense pressure on their back, knees and ankles.
“It is a very uncomfortable situation and to aid them, I have included the squat toilet with an angle of elevation, more surface area to keep heel and the toes so that the centre of gravity is maintained constantly. This will help them balance better. Due to the added surface, the weight distribution in the back, toes and knees is equal, reducing pain and making it easier to squat,” he told the publication.
Satyajit’s pet project is in its prototype phase at the moment and has attracted the attention of the Nidhi Prayas Centre, Science and Technology Park in Pune who offered the design student a Rs 10 lakh Nidhi Prayas Innovation Grant, also promoted by National Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Development Board (NSTEDB), Government of India.