Using a “squat” toilet can be tiring, and standing up afterwards can be a challenge. But an “Ankle Support Design” developed by the Oriental Institute of Technology (OIT) might just be the answer for these problems. This patent-pending design only costs NT$100 in materials.
OIT lecturer Kao Chiwei estimates that some 3 billion people worldwide still use squat toilets on a daily basis. He has observed that women mostly prefer squat-type toilets from an unwillingness to allow their bodies to contact a toilet seat. However, squatting leads to sore legs and sometimes loss of balance, and it is necessary to move the body’s center of gravity when getting up, frequently challenging elderly users. People with “frog legs” find it more difficult to keep both feet in contact with the ground while squatting in order to avoid toppling backward.
Kao noted that the squatting position allows the body’s center of gravity to be lowered onto the hips, forcing the ankles to bear the entire weight of the body. When arising from the position, most people have to extend their arms forward first, or rock on their feet to get started, in order to balance their center of gravity. Kao then tried installing 22.5-degree inclines on either side of the squat toilets to improve the position of users’ center of gravity, allowing them to squat longer without getting tired, and to get up out of the position easier later.
by Arthur Furrowfield