I don’t know about you, but I’ve had my fair share of shower thoughts that ended in delightfully odd ideas for inventions – and I love having a look around crowdfunding sites, too, to see what other people come up with. Especially for bathrooms, which seem to have so much potential for innovation.
One of the most clever ones I’ve seen? A German comedian’s showerhead, which was designed specifically to keep your hair dry by only washing you from the shoulders down. Ingenious, right?
And in general, bathrooms have gotten incredibly smart over the past few years.
Some ideas, however, are not meant to ever see the light, it seems. Here are seven of my favourites – and believe me, you’re not prepared for some of them. (I sure wasn’t!)
All of these were patents submitted to the relevant authorities, to protect the intellectual property of the people who thought them up, so bear that in mind. Yes, someone actually thought of those… and then Tap Warehouse shared these wacky ideas with us.
Now here I am, passing it on once again, because really – we could all use a giggle right now. Not to mention that some of these are really, genuinely clever and make me wish for the days when they become reality.
And if I’m honest, as wacky as some of these bathroom ideas are… I do wish I had come up with some of them.
1. The bathroom that monitors your health
Hands up: who is using a fitness tracking app? Whether you’re like me, and need nothing more than your phone’s included pedometer or use a more sophisticated piece of software, they are almost a staple of many people’s lives.
This bathroom concept, which Google came up with, would have tracked how well your body is doing – think a bath mat that measures your heart rate, or a mirror that uses cameras checking for changes in skin colour.
Another idea came from Panasonic, which created a bathtub that could track our health.
How, I hear you ask?
Well, should it ever be made, the tub could measure your heart rate, body weight, fat in your body, temperature, and your rate of breathing.
How futuristic, right?
2. The bidet-bath combination
Shower toilets and bidets are becoming ever more – but combining one with a bathtub?
This idea was submitted as a patent in 2012, and I have a feeling there’s a reason it hasn’t been made yet.
Yes, merging the two would save space… but there is nothing glamorous about it, is there?
(If you would like a bidet, though, there’s an easy way to add one to your home: a dedicated seat that offers the same function.)
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3. No more “seat up or down?” arguments
I can’t begin to imagine how frustrated Miroslaw Dudek, who submitted this patent, might have been – but his idea would have put an end to the endless argument so many of us who have lived with the opposite sex will have had.
The ingenious plan? Add a fold-down urinal to turn a standard bathroom fixture into an unobtrusive two-in-one solution.
However, the pessimist in me can’t help but think that, while clever, it would only be one more thing to argue about.
You know the situation – it’d no longer be “can you please put the toilet seat down?” But “PLEASE, can you not just flip the urinal back up when you’re done?”
4. The flexible bathroom layout
As it stands, ensuites and family spaces are very much fixed. You place a WC, a vanity, a shower, and you’re done.
But not these inventors, oh no. They developed a system of rails which are fixed to your bathroom wall.
Then, you simply hook fixtures into this track system – and hey presto, you can move your bathroom around as you wish.
Only the loo will have to stay in place, thanks to the waste pipes.
But don’t worry, because the team behind this patent has had another idea to make the humble WC fit into the system: a height-adjustable seat, which works by stacking multiple seats on top of each other.
The patent even has a drainage hole in the floor, so this would essentially be a stylish, flexible wetroom.
5. The next-level shower system
Using your own hands to wash yourself in the shower is so 2020, if you believe this patent (which was only filed a few months ago!).
If ever produced, this shower room would use sensors to direct your body and head, with water jets and rollers leaving you squeaky clean from head to too.
It shampoos your hair, too, with gel claws giving you a relaxing massage in the process.
And then, when you’re done, you reach for a towel, right? Not really, no – this apparatus will even dry you.
Now, call me lazy, but even only looking at this makes me relax.
6. The ultimate space-saving bathroom
In Britain, our wet spaces are typically very much short on floor area – but if this patent from 1980 ever came to fruition, that could change.
The idea is deceptively simple: everything folds into each other or serves double duty.
Need the loo? Simply fold it out and, once you’re done, hide it again. Washed your hands? The basin folds away, too, turning into a handy towel rack in the process.
7. A bathtub that massages your back
Now, this concept is something I can fully get behind.
As someone who loves a good soak – complete with hair treatments, face masks and all (I don’t do baths by halves!) – the idea of my tub spraying my back with water to give me a massage feels like the only way I could step up my game.
And what a step up that would be.
The patent was only submitted this year, by inventors in China, so I’m holding out hope here. Please, someone make it happen – I’ll be forever thankful!
So, what’s your winning idea? Or your favourite wacky bathroom invention from this list? Let me know below – and who knows, maybe you’re the next inventor to come up with something big!
Featured image: Not wacky at all, but already very, very smart – Grohe’s Essence Ceramics freestanding bath, £6418, doesn’t need an overflow but has an integrated sensor which measures the weight of the water and automatically unlocks the drain before it can spill over.