I’m just going to come right out and say it: Urinating while standing is a terrible idea. It creates a host of messes including splash back and disgusting drips, and inevitably the toilet seat gets left up, leading to someone accidentally plummeting into the porcelain abyss. But until we can all agree to just sit down, the SmartNūdge promises to solve at least one of those issues.
The SmartNūdge, which is dreadfully early in its Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, swears to autonomously ensure your toilet seat is always returned to its lowered and proper position. Powered by a set of four AA batteries that are good for about 18 months of use, according to the campaign, the SmartNūdge attaches to the underside of a toilet’s lid using magnets or a sticker and uses a sensor that detects when the toilet seat has been raised.
After 90 seconds, which is apparently more than enough time for someone to empty their bladder, a small arm extends and gives the toilet seat a flick, and gravity lowers it the rest of the way. And if you don’t have one of those swankier toilet seats that slowly lowers on its own, the SmartNūdge includes dampers so that the seat doesn’t come crashing down with a loud slam each time.
When it comes to toilet upgrades, you can spend several hundred dollars on seats that already do this—as well as warm your posterior and handle all of your cleaning needs. But you might feel like an entitled snob every time you use one. At $29 for people who buy into the early campaign, the SmartNūdge is relatively cheap, and you don’t have to worry about charging it, connecting it to your home’s wifi, or having to repeat voice commands three or four times until they’re understood.
But there are still a few questions we have about day-to-day life with the SmartNūdge. Can you still properly close the lid of the toilet with the unit attached? Does it make it uncomfortable to sit on the toilet while taking care of other business, and is the sensor smart enough to distinguish a person from a raised toilet seat? (Please don’t tap me while I’m pooping.) Can it be easily removed after 18 months for a battery swap? Are we even pronouncing SmartNūdge correctly given the accent over the ‘ū’—should it sound more like an ‘ooo’?
As with any crowdfunded product, there’s always risk involved. And while the SmartNūdge isn’t anywhere near as complicated as a device like a smartphone, it’s still in the prototype stage, with the money raised from its Kickstarter going toward funding a full production run. Its creators are hoping to have the device in backer’s hands by April of next year, but unforeseen delays—which aren’t uncommon with crowdfunded products—could push that delivery back even further. That might be more than enough time to convince everyone in your home to always sit during bathroom breaks, but old habits die hard.