"I think it's hard to make sanitation as sexy as a cell phone, but by integrating into the community and making it a hub, it can be something more popular," Linden said.
The toilet itself, called the Sol-Char, is a fascinating bit of engineering. In order to sanitize waste without the help of massive treatment facilities, Linden's team instead designed the toilet to scorch waste in a chamber heated by fiber optic cables that pipe in heat from solar collectors on the toilet's roof.
"A solar concentrator has all this light focused in on one centimeter. It'd be fine if we could bring everyone's fecal waste up to that one point, like burning it with a magnifying glass," Linden said. "But that's not practical, so we were thinking of other ways to concentrate that light.""
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