• A facial recognition machine is being used at a public toilet on Xikang Road in Shanghai’s Jing’an District to cut down on the wastage of toilet paper
  • It was first rolled out in China at the public restrooms of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing

The artificial intelligence is reaching the most unusual place in China — the public toilet.

A facial recognition toilet paper dispenser is installed and is being used at a public toilet on Xikang Road in Shanghai’s Jing’an District to cut down on the wastage of toilet paper.

This system is aimed at reducing waste and preventing toilet paper theft, which is actually a thing that happens. It was first rolled out in China at the public restrooms of the Temple of Heaven in Beijing after reports emerged that locals were visiting the bathrooms and making off with as much free toilet paper as they could carry.

“For most people, 80cm paper should be enough,” said Li Bei, an employee of Shoulian Science and Technology Co, the supplier of the machine.

“The face scan machine can save about 70 percent of toilet paper.”

Image via Wikimedia Commons

However, if toilet users need more paper, they can request it from the cleaning staff, who do not charge for the extra bit of roll, but the facial scanning machine cannot be used again for nine minutes.

The machine was reportedly installed nearly two months ago at the entrance of the toilet. Initially, people missed it but more people are using it now.

“We are considering making some adjustments because the facial recognition area is 1.8 meters high, which is not convenient for children and even some seniors,” said Li.

Sources :

Shanghaiist, Shine