Gates-backed tech toilet poops out in India

One of the most popular missions lately for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been its effort to re-invent the toilet, an initiative it launched nearly two years ago to great media fanfare. Lack of access to proper sanitation is a huge global public health threat, and need.
Bill Gates reviews one contestant in the Toilet Re-Invention contest.
Bill Gates reviews one contestant in the Toilet Re-Invention contest.
Gates Foundation

One of the most popular missions lately for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has been to re-invent the toilet, an initiative it launched nearly two years ago to great media fanfare as part of its broader program aimed at improving sanitation and water.

Billions of people lack access to proper sanitation, making this a huge global public health threat, and need. Some news stories:

Time Gates Foundation funding toilets of the future 

NPR Bill Gates crowns toilet innovators

Reuters Gates Foundation puts money on solar-powered toilet

Today, according to India media, one of the winning toilet innovators in the philanthropy’s contest, Eram Scientific, has failed to attact poopers nearly a year after introduction. As The Hindu reports, an official says part of the problem is:

“People don’t know how to use these technologically advanced toilets. They are afraid to use it; they fear being locked up…”

Bill Gates is on his way to India so maybe he’ll swing by to check on this project and see if he can flush out the problem. To be fair, this is why this project is part of the foundation’s Grand Challenges program, which is designed to test out high-risk ideas and learn from failure.

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Tom Paulson

Tom Paulson is founder and lead journalist at Humanosphere. Prior to operating this online news site, he reported on science,  medicine, health policy, aid and development for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Contact him at tom[at]humanosphere.org or follow him on Twitter @tompaulson.