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There’s a toilet app for that


Stuart Hands from Tork manufacturer Essity looks at how smartphone apps and software are revolutionising our trips to the loo.


A quirky toilet app suddenly gained prominence this spring with the launch of the Avengers Endgame film.


At just over three hours long, Endgame was the longest Marvel movie to date – too long for some, particularly those who like to enjoy a drink while viewing.


In some countries, cinema managers introduced an intermission 90 minutes into the film to enable audience members to visit the washroom. But no such facility was offered in most nations – the UK included.


As a result, the RunPee app suddenly made the news. Designed for cinema-goers who have trouble sitting through a long film without a toilet break, RunPee sends a vibrating signal to the viewer’s smartphone when a scene that contains no important plot twists is about to begin. Only scenes that last three minutes or more are flagged up, signalling to the cinema-goer that this would be a good time to visit the loo.


38 | TECHNOLOGY


The RunPee app had already been available for around 10 years, but it required the launch of an extra-long blockbuster to give it a much-needed publicity boost – otherwise it might have sunk without trace like many of its quirky counterparts.


For example, until a few years ago anyone who found it difficult to urinate could download the Trouble Peeing app which mimicked the sound of waterfalls and taps. Airpnp was another genius idea – an app designed to provide an interface between street revellers in need of a bathroom and enterprising home-owners.


Launched in New Orleans to coincide with the 2014 Mardi Gras carnival, Airpnp was relatively short-lived – perhaps because revellers were unwilling to pay the $3-$10 typically levied for a private bathroom visit.


However, a number of other toilet apps have managed to survive the test of time – perhaps because they offer


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