In the video above, the sewer system is the star. That's because it's rich with fecal material that, when examined by researchers, can tell us a lot about our collective health.
So when will we all be able to do some DIY science on our own offerings to the sewers? (That's a common question, right?) When our homes have high-tech toilets, of course. Japanese toilet-maker Toto was selling the Intelligence Toilet II at one point, and in addition to bells and whistles, like a heated seat and an air dryer, it analyzed urine.
The specialized toilet used a urine receptacle to measure sugar levels and body temperature. It also featured an armband that took your blood pressure and a toilet surround that calculated weight and body mass.
This information was then sent wirelessly to a desktop where the information could be graphed to monitor glucose levels (helpful for diabetics) and hormones (helpful for women looking for estrogen spikes indicative of ovulation). The user could also send that data to a physician.
While it's not quite the lab-on-a-chip technology that futurists are clamoring for, it's a solid step toward at-home medical diagnostics. But what about feces, you ask? Not to worry, Japanese toilet maker Lixil, offers the Satis model, which works in tandem with an app to track and analyze bowel movements.
However it's not without worries. In 2013, hackers took over the app, causing the toilet to flush over and over again, as well open and close. Making some feel their moment on the privy wasn't so private.
Which leads back to public poop: If you haven't already, find out about a group of intrepid souls descending into the sewers to scoop poop for science in the above video.