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The World's Most-High Tech Urinal 225

Mudzy writes "In an effort to handle its nighttime public urination problem, Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is considering installing high-tech urinals that disappear below street level during the day. Then at night, an operator comes by with a remote and the Urilift hydraulically lifts to sidewalk level in about two minutes. Then the unit is ready to serve all the nighttime party animals who don't mind peeing in a very exposed public urinal. The $75,000 system has been installed across the Netherlands, and have spread to London and Belfast, but Victoria will be the first North American city to try them out."
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The World's Most-High Tech Urinal

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  • by billimad ( 629204 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:32AM (#16903830)
    They're taking the piss. Sorry.
    • by niiler ( 716140 )
      The next stage in this product's development will be to include long range alcohol sniffers and the latest advances robotics. These urinals will be released at dusk and immediately go on patrol, sniffing out drunks and following them around until they get so p*ssed...
    • No joke. Just don't use it at twilight or you get stuck in a urinal for 12 hours.
      • by hcob$ ( 766699 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @03:12PM (#16905720)
        Nah, the next version is the pay toilet that locks you in UNTIL you pay the fee. After a certain amount of time with non-payment, the machine just happens to "leak" previous customers "deposits" all over you.
      • If any of you had watched the article, you'd know that they need to have a person lower them, they don't lower automatically. So unless there's some dickhead being malicious like the aforementioned jackass university student, that's not going to happen.

        However, they apparently raise automatically, so depending on how much upward pressure they exert before they realize there's an obstacle and abort (assuming that they do, which you'd reasonably expect) it could be ugly if you parked over one.
  • What about during the day?
    Should we punish those who must heed nature's call when there aren't any public restrooms anywhere in sight?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Many places are lucky they're installed at all. Here in the US, it would cause a lot of pissed off Christians to get that program going. Remember, we may have *penises and/or vaginas*, but we're not suppose to admit it. The last thing most of the religious people want to have is that fact being out in the open. And if you read this post, you're dirty dirty dirty!!!!!!
      • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:21AM (#16904140) Homepage Journal
        "Many places are lucky they're installed at all. Here in the US, it would cause a lot of pissed off Christians to get that program going."

        I dunno...these things would be a Godsend for New Orleans during Mardi Gras!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Quite often there aren't enough port-a-potty's around for you to find one....and afterawhile of drinking on the streets, that stuff starts to run through ya pretty fast, and it isn't like you're too terribly embarrased as to where you have to 'whip it out' to take a leak.

        On the other hand, I wonder how long it would take when these came out, that the city/state would be sued for discrimination against women who needed to go 'in public', or would be slapped with injunctions about them not being 'handicapped friendly'.

      • Unfortunately, you're probably correct associating our countrywide genital shame with the pervasive religious majority.

        Who wants public urination at all? Not me. A little modesty, attributable to whatever source, keeping you from pissing in front of me is a good thing.

        This is a cool product, addressing an icky problem -- I'd just hate to see these installed unnecessarily, actually encouraging people to relieve themselves in public.

        These things need all the hookups that a standard bathroom requires -- water,
  • I found the fact that that page snagged video cameras amusing, then funnier that the subject of the first 'related posts' was

    amazingly small

  • Seriously, watch the video, it's hillarious ;)
  • by operato ( 782224 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:36AM (#16903860)
    the one in belfast is cool. it's just down the street from me and instead of using the one at my place i walk down there to do my stuff and meet girls who are there spectating (they're jealous because they can't stand up to do it).
    • Re:they're cool (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:59AM (#16904002)
      A girlcanpee standing up. All you have to do is insert your middle and ring fingers between your fanny lips, to hold them apart and so keep a clear path for your stream; and press your index and little fingers either side to aim. It's easiest to find the correct position by squatting down just the very first time you try it, so as your "gates" open naturally, then standing up with your hand in place; but once you've found the correct position, you can do it every time and not even get your fingers wet.

      Practice in the shower and use a mirror if you can't see how you're going wrong. It's well worth mastering the technique -- it can be handy for scaring away the wrong sort of guys!
      • by jimicus ( 737525 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @12:52PM (#16904742)
        Can we have a "-1, Too Much Information" mod?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        ah yes... not getting your fingers wet... what really matters is not getting your skirt/pants/jeans or knickers wet either... or keeping it in the urinal and not getting it all over the floor...
      • I reckon it might come in handy in other emergencies too. Years ago I was at this excellent Dylan/Santana concert in Göteborg which was full to capacity. The queue outside the women's washroom was about an hour long. So women in desperation started crashing the men's washroom. Fair enough. We let them have the toilet stalls, but even then there was a major queue of women outside the men's. Meanwhile the urinals went underused, and that's just the way it was. Now if I was a woman, this would not
      • by Plutonite ( 999141 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @06:27PM (#16907480)
        Let's just put it like this:

        A girl can't pee while standing up and post with her real nickname :)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by brainspank ( 515274 )
        holy crap.

        that should have said "a girl can pee standing up. trust me."

        I feel dirty.
      • by zobier ( 585066 )
        To the boys that said that was too much info, grow up!
        BTW, that's the second time I've seen this posted here. The last time was a couple years ago and included instructions for how a guy can have multiple Os - leaving it ambiguous as to whether it was a guy or girl posting.
    • You've obvious not heard the same stories as me about lesbians pissing in nightclub urinals.
    • by Reemi ( 142518 )
      Never heard about the TravelMate?
      http://www.travelmateinfo.com/page002.html [travelmateinfo.com]

    • Re:they're cool (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:25AM (#16904170)
      >..snip..girls who are ... jealous because they can't stand up to do it..

      Don't be to shure of that. I live in the Netherlands and in 'my' city's center there are a few a these installed as well. A fair number of ladies now use a 'plastuit'. I don't know a english word for that gadget. Check out http://www.plastuit.nl/ [plastuit.nl] It takes a bit of getting used to, but it does work. And then there are those whom have mastered the art of doggy like lift-one-leg style of pee. I'll leave the details of that to your imagination. But it must be said that it does work.

  • then it would be perfect for a cron job. Why do you need to pay someone to click the friggin button?
    If not cron, maybe X11 to the rescue?
    • surely you mean X10?
    • by Aoreias ( 721149 )
      Given that there seem to be no indications that something which looks like a manhole is really covering a 6 ft urinal, I would wager that the guy with the remote to activate these things checks to make sure it's reasonably clear of people before raising it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Y-Crate ( 540566 )

      then it would be perfect for a cron job. Why do you need to pay someone to click the friggin button?

      If it ran Linux, you could automate this with a cron job, but you would also have to deal with the fact that flushing is permanently on the "To Do" list, and if you complain that it is not functioning you are told to go "code it yourself". The toilet would also come with a hefty support contract at a cost approximately 500% of the purchase price.

      On the bright side though, the new flashy lights and color s

  • They want you to pee in a corvette?
  • come available for dogs? If they made this operatable by dogs, they would solve the problem for "good". :P
  • Sad Day (Score:5, Funny)

    by arcite ( 661011 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:49AM (#16903940)

    I went to uni in Victoria. Call me nostalgic but, I'll really miss the urine soaked side walks downtown...It just won't be the same dammit!

  • this is not new. we have had these in my home town, Reading/UK for a long time. people used to piss on the streets at night. but we have these now. http://s5h.net/u?b9a [s5h.net]
    • by grommit ( 97148 )
      Thank you Captain Obvious. However, anybody who read the article summary (not you apparently) would know that it's already being used in Europe.

      What's different is that this is the first installation in North America where there is quite a taboo against urinating in public here.
  • Pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DarthChris ( 960471 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:52AM (#16903960)
    People who to drunk to care will do it wherever (or piss their pants if they're completely wasted).

    People who are desperate because there's no open public toilets will continue to (attempt to) hide behind a tree, bus stop or anything else.
    • while (typeid(this) == single) { printf("Still single :("); }
      cute, but: while (typeid(this) == single) { fprintf( stdout, "Still single :(\n" ); } might be an improvement, printf doesnt have the ability to flush the output buffer like fflush(stdout); has.
    • Being modded "insightful" in such a topic as public peeing can't be good for your karma...
  • I like to use it when I'm near such a urinal to lower it down, especially when people are peeing ;=)
  • Why So Complex? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by niXcamiC ( 835033 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:52AM (#16903968)
    Here in Guatemala, we just have a spiral shaped wall, with a urinal in the centre. Way cheaper, and you can use it in the day.
    • by deblau ( 68023 )
      Here's a public urinal in Amsterdam: pic [itravelnet.com]. I used one of these the last time I was there, very convenient.
  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @10:54AM (#16903980) Homepage Journal
    ...just like Urinus appears every night in the starry skies.
    • This man shall go down in history as the first one to come up with a pun on Uranus that didn't involve "anus". He deserves a Knighthood or a Presidential Medal of Freedom for that.

      I admit it's not a huge improvement, but any progress on the bad-Uranus-puns front should be rewarded.
  • by the_rajah ( 749499 ) * on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:00AM (#16904012) Homepage
    Other than the obvious "high tech" aspect to these pissoirs [google.com] and having them only available at night which just doesn't make sense to me, since I occasionally have to urinate during daylight hours.

    I've also seen these in North African countries that I've visited like Tunisia and Morocco. I'm guessing the French brought the concept.
    • Other than the obvious "high tech" aspect to these pissoirs [google.com] and having them only available at night which just doesn't make sense to me, since I occasionally have to urinate during daylight hours.

      You have apparently not been through large cities very often. I'm staying in the Hilton hotel in San Mateo, CA on a weekend getaway with my lovely wife. (She's sleeping in upstairs) Going through San Fransisco, we hit several of the "economically disadvantaged" areas, and the smell of old urine was f
  • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:11AM (#16904072) Journal
    I mean, if you to get to an indoor toilet before you wet yourself, then you shouldn't have drunk so much in the first place. But given how we've now got things like 'do not ram in eye' labels on knives etc, it's not surprising that we're catering to the lowest common denominator.
    • by statusbar ( 314703 ) <jeffk@statusbar.com> on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:16AM (#16904100) Homepage Journal
      Interesting that it only caters to males, and not females... Is that an insult to males pee habits? or is it sexism against females because it is not inclusive?

      • by Channard ( 693317 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:20AM (#16904122) Journal
        .. girls don't pee. They expel all waste products as a pine-smelling vapour emitted through their pores.
        • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

          by Tablizer ( 95088 )
          girls don't pee. They expel all waste products as a pine-smelling vapour emitted through their pores.

          I am skeptical since most slashdotters are not experts in female anatomy, inventing wild nerban rumours.
        • So that's why I'm gay! I hate pine!


      • Interesting that it only caters to males, and not females...

        How long before the cities that install them get sued for discrimination? Not to mention all the handicapped people who can't stand up to pee...


      • by yabos ( 719499 )
        It's probably something to do with it being easier to maintain. You're not touching anything with your ass so they don't have to clean it as often. Although I'm sure some prick will shit on the floor or something sick like that(seen it in a few public washrooms before)
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dubbreak ( 623656 )
        That was brought up locally (I'm a Victorian) and the arguement is the public urination problem in the downtown core is due to male urination not female, hence the focus on male urination. I am sure the standup urinals could be used by adventureous females, the same ones who would actually go squat in an alley (face away from urinal and bend over slightly?).

        In all honesty it is not fair, but it is an ends to a mean. The organisers only care about preventing more public urination, not making it easier for
        • Oops. Means to and end, or end justifies the mean, surprised I didn't get flamed on my messed up idiom.
    • But given how we've now got things like 'do not ram in eye' labels on knives etc

      I think that's been updated to 'do not ram in remaining eye' now.

      • Not to mention the line in braille for those poor sods that failed to heed the warning the first two times...
    • The problem with some areas of major cities - and I have had this problem in downtown Vancouver (a short ferry ride away from Victoria) - is that it is sometimes hard to find a place to use the washroom, and not just if you're drunk. There's quite often issues with addicts etc using the washroom facilities to shoot up in private, so many establishments will have the washrooms locked, requiring you get a key at the front desk. Quite often, they will also require you to make a purchase beforehand.

      Now normal
      • This isnt a solve-all, but it seems reasonable that you'd like to wash your hands before being served at an eatery - so go in, but dont ask for the restroom, ask for a table, and then also mention you'd like to use the washroom first. After you've done your business, up to you wether to remain there and order something, or to simply split.
  • At least the high tech model is more usable than this this [c6.org] one.
  • by megazoid81 ( 573094 ) on Sunday November 19, 2006 @11:56AM (#16904368)

    First, there is the computational urinal from the MIT Media Lab, called You're In Control (Urine Control). More information at the project's web site [rafelandia.com]. The urinal has a screen above it, and you can play video games by appropriately directing your urine stream.

    Then, less high tech, but still very useful is the p-mate [p-mate.com], which is a device that permits women to pee standing up. Now, if only there could be a device for men to get multiple orgasms [forwardedfunnies.com].

  • Will this be the beginning of more profound changes in the image of the cities between day and night?. Perhaps boutiques can hide underground to leave place to pubs, fountains can dissapear to leave place to an ice skating ring... The possibilities are endless :-)

  • ...had a much lower-tech version at least 48 years ago, and still does AFAIK. Dorm residents used a pedestrian tunnel under the Atlanta Expressway (believe it's I-75 now) to reach Duffy's Tavern, the one bar in the neighborhood that kept the cops greased so it could serve beer to underage students. It was about a quarter mile walk with no legitimate pissers anywhere, so we just used the tunnel. Whenever the smell got overpowering, the fire department would flush it with the big hose.

  • You can send a kid from a poor background to university for that amount of money. Full scholarship to any state university in the US. You can even buy a house some places for that much. $75k is a lot to spend on a glorified pissing post. And this isn't even counting the yearly maintenance to the hydraulics and self cleaning gizmos.


  • Simple solution: if you sell liquor, you have to provide public restrooms.

    The JCDecaux line of Automated Public Conveniences [jcdecaux.co.uk] are fine, but too expensive. Most US cities insist on installing the giant self-cleaning wheelchair-accessable unit, which is the size of a parking space and costs about $65,000 per year, with maintenance. European installations usually have the smaller "pillar" unit.

    The JCDecaux units work OK, but they're not designed for volume production. I've seen the internals of the mach

  • Why not just keep it in the ground with a hole at the top so people would just aim for it while standing up?

    People needing privacy can pretend to sit down or lie down on the ground. The catch bag can then be pulled out and replaced.

    I can make one for 1/10th the price. Give me a shovel.
  • We have a system where the urinals are sort of kiosk-like affairs. You put in a quarter (or a token for the homeless), the door opens, you go in and do your thing, you leave, the door closes and locks for a few minutes while the system steam-cleans the insides completely, then it's ready for the next customer.

    I've only used them a couple times, but they seem efficient - as long as they don't break down, which they do apparently.

  • The hypen's in the wrong place. It should be "Most High-Tech Urinal", not "Most-High Tech Urinal". I know the "editors" don't actually edit, but I'm wondering if they even have the necessary command of the language to edit should they choose to do so. Yeah, yeah, I must be new here...
  • Talk about a waste of the taxpayers' money...If they want to piss in the streets then let them pay the fines or make them work off the debt by...you guessed it...cleaning up the streets.

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