REDMOND, WA – Microsoft will be releasing Toilet 2.0.  A new toilet that will “revolutionize the way we go to the bathroom.”

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recently launched a “Reinvent The Toilet” competition and have awarded nearly $300 million to researchers at ten universities (and five high schools) to redesign the porcelain throne.  They were challenged to develop an economical toilet that is doesn’t need to be connected to a sewer system, or to any water or electricity grid.

And Fritz Barnkopf of Wyckoff, New Jersey was the winner.  He invented a toilet that requires no running water, no flushing, no toilet paper, no waste disposal and… people do not even have to sit down.

“It’s amazing,” said Microsoft engineer, Ameer Joodinastan.  “You can use it anywhere and nobody will even know.”

Microsoft is currently “de-bugging” the Barnkopf Toilet – renamed Microsoft Toilets – and should have it on the market by Christmas (in time for those big holiday meals).

Ever since Bill Gates got the stomach flu at a Mexican restaurant in Portland, Bill Gates has vowed to revolutionize the toilet industry.

“He wants to do for toilets what he did for computers,” said one Microsoft insider.

Here’s an early design of Microsoft Toilet 2.0:

A little toilet history:

Sir John Harington was the first design a workable toilet.   His revolutionary water closet design, which he described in his 1596 treatise A New Discourse upon a Stale Subject: The Metamorphosis of Ajax.

Harington peddled his newfangled commode to his godmother, Queen Elizabeth I, who had the first one installed in Richmond Palace.

The flushing mechanism consisted of a pulling a knob to empty a water cistern, which sat above the toilet bowl. A rudimentary valve then released the water and the waste from the stool pot into a collection vault beneath the floor, which had to be routinely emptied.

Prior to Harington’s invention, people relieved themselves in chamber pots and tossed the contents outdoors and into nearby waterways.

Long before then, civilizations devised similar ways to dispose of human waste products. One of the earliest bathroom relics goes back to around 1700 B.C.at the Palace of Knossos on the island of Crete, where the Minoans installed wooden toilet-like seats attached to piping.

Archaeologists also have discovered ruins indicating that the ancient Chinese may have engineered a kind of flush toilet by 206 B.C.

But it was Harington’s modern flush model that gradually became commonplace around England and Europe over the 18th and 19th centuries, and in 1775, London watchmaker Alexander Cummings filed the first flush toilet patent.

Thomas Crapper has long been given credit for the toilet, but by the time Crapper came on the bathroom scene, the original flush toilet had undergone a series of improvements, including its S-curved water piping to trap odors (Alexander Cummings), a chain-operated flushing device (Joseph Bramah) and a pressurized siphon flush system that more effectively carried excrement from toilet bowl to sewage pipes (Joseph Adamson).

Thomas Crapper became widely associated with toilets not so much for innovation, but salesmanship. The British plumber and entrepreneur established sanitation showrooms and cleverly imprinted his memorable last name on his wares.

In 1896, while Crapper was building his legacy, Scott Paper company began marketing the first rolls of toilet paper.

Fast forward nearly a century, and the toilet entered yet another revolutionary phase when the 1992 U.S. Congress passed legislation requiring new toilets to drain just 1.6 gallons per flush, instead of the average 3.5 gallons.

And now… Bill Gates has reinvented the toilet (with the help of Fritz Barnkopf).

Microsoft Toilets will, of course, be overpriced.  But you’ll be able to find it in any Best Buy in December.

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