SquatEase: 26-Year-Old Innovator’s Redesign Of Indian Toilet Makes It Easy To Use And Clean
Indian toilet requires squatting to use, which puts a lot of pressure, especially on knees and back causing joint problems in our body. This is especially painful for elderly.
26-year old Satyajit Mittal, a student of design at the Pune based MIT (Maharashtra Institute of Technology) Institute of Design wanted to do something about this and thus came into existence the ergonomically-designed unidirectional, clean and comfortable toilet- SquatEase. Satyajit has redesigned the footrest of regular Indian toilet and included an angle of elevation providing more surface area to keep heals and toes and maintain centre of gravity, thus reducing stress on knees, hips, and thighs, and allowing people with joint problems to use Indian toilet easily. He also claims that the toilet is visually-impaired friendly as the floor markings help in identifying the correct spot. Also, the inclined footrest makes it strictly unidirectional and thus easy to clean.
2-year Journey Of The Innovation
Satyajit conceptualized and designed the SquatEase toilet in 2016 and after winning a prototyping grant from the Government of India, he started the project. Sharing how he came up with the idea, he said “I used to go around photographing people when they would squat. I had almost 300 pictures of people squatting, and the common thread in it all was how people squatted on their toes”, reported The Better India. Satyajit discussed the issue with physiotherapists and realized that a change was needed.
After designing the prototype, he tested the product at the orthopedic department of the Command Hospital, Pune. In 2018, he established a company, Sanitation in collaboration with the World Toilet Organisation, Singapore and in October 2018, the product was ready for sales.
His hard work has finally paid off. In the last five months, 6,000 units of the product have been sold and he plans to sell another 5,000 units by May. The product is very affordable as each unit costs just Rs 999. Satyajit received the Swachh Innovation of 2018 on the Swachh Bharat Diwas organised by the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation and also got the tender to install 5,000 SquatEase toilets at Prayaraj Kumbh. NDTV quoted him as saying “At the moment, we are doing bulk sales, but soon starting out direct sales through our website as we are getting a lot of enquiries online. We also plan to go retail soon.”