At long last, one of the more high tech innovations of China’s “toilet revolution” has reached Shanghai—toilet paper face scanners!
This system is aimed at reducing waste and preventing toilet paper theft, which is actually a thing that happens. It was first rolled out in China at the public restrooms of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing last March after reports emerged that locals were visiting the bathrooms and making off with as much free toilet paper as they could carry.
Because of these kinds of issues, most public bathrooms in China do not offer free toilet paper. However, the majority in Shanghai do, though, because of theft and overuse, you will likely have to ask the attendant for the precious paper.
According to Shine, a public toilet on 326 Xikang Road has recently refined this process by adding a face recognition scanner.
In order to obtain some toilet paper, you’ll have to stand in front of the machine and have your face scanned. The machine will then dispense an 80-centimeter long piece of toilet paper for your use. You can not use the machine again for nine minutes. If you need more toilet paper, you’ll have to do things the old-fashioned way and ask the attendant (at no extra charge).
“For most people, 80cm paper should be enough,” says Li Bei, a worker at Shoulian Science and Technology Co, the maker of this machine. “The face scan machine can save about 70 percent of toilet paper.”
It turns out that the machine was actually installed two months ago, but only recently started to draw notice from the toilet’s patron. About 1,500 people use this public bathroom each day. You should drop by sometime and experience the wonders of modern technology for yourself.
Meanwhile, Shoulian is reportedly in talks with officials in Pudong, so these machines may soon start popping up in public toilets all across the district. What a time to be alive!
[Images via Shine]