The Toilet Companion: A toilet brush that should be there for you and not for others

Laurens Boer, Nico Hansen, Ragna-Lisa Möller, Ana Neto, Anne Holm Nielsen, Robb Mitchell

Research output: Conference Article in Proceeding or Book/Report chapterArticle in proceedingsResearchpeer-review


In this article we present the Toilet Companion: an augmented toilet brush that aims to provide moments of joy in the toilet room, and if necessary, stimulates toilet goers to use the brush. Based upon the amount of time a user sits upon the toilet seat, the brush swings it handle with increasing speed: initially to draw attention to its presence, but over time to give a playful impression. Hereafter, the entire brush makes rapid up and downward movements to persuade the user to pick it up. In use, it generates beeps in response to human handling, to provide a sense of reward and accompanying pleasure. Despite our aims in providing joy and stimulation, participants from field trials with the Toilet Companion reported experiencing the brush as undesirable, predominantly because the sounds produced by the brush would make private toilet room activities publicly perceivable. The design intervention thus challenged the social boundaries of the otherwise private context of the toilet room, opening up an interesting area for design- ethnographic research about perception of space, where interactive artifacts can be mobilized to deliberately breach public, social, personal, and intimate spaces.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAH '15 : Proceedings of the 6th Augmented Human International Conference
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Publication date2015
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-4503-3349-8
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event6th Augmented Human International Conference - Marina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Singapore, Singapore
Duration: 9 Mar 201511 Mar 2015
Conference number: 6


Conference6th Augmented Human International Conference
LocationMarina Bay Sands Expo and Convention Centre
Internet address


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