The modern flush toilet has been around since the 17th century, but the fixture is still imperfect, Russian pensioner Valery Guryanov says.
For 18 years now, the St. Petersburg native has been working to improve the concept of a toilet, and he thinks he is finally onto something.
"It may seem like an ordinary toilet, but in actuality its design is altered," Guryanov says, showing one of the two toilets installed in his living room. "I had to also build a whole new valve."
The inventor gladly demonstrates the workings of the toilet by placing his arm where a user's back would otherwise be.
"A client uses the toilet. He sits down for some time, for as long as he needs to. Then, under pressure, water is poured out, and it doesn’t just flush, but also washes the toilet," Guryanov says, explaining the hands-free technology.
The inventor claims that in comparison to regular European flush toilets, his fixture saves three times more water.
In a test-run, the toilets were installed in a St. Petersburg Polytechnic University dormitory, where associate professor Aleksandr Semyonov found at least one positive.
"The fact that all [other toilets] were broken and these experimental samples remained doesn’t say that the device is so anti-vandal that it can’t be broken," he said. "There is no such device a student can’t break."
Despite the feedback, manufacturers have yet to show much interest in the toilet.
In the meantime, inventor Guryanov himself doesn’t use the device -- he complains that the toilet makes a deafening noise every time something passes the hands-free sensor.