You may not stop every day and contemplate how wonderful it is to have access to a clean, comfortable bathroom, but I guarantee you that the minute you are without one, the anguish caused by their absence is very real. Finding an accessible bathroom while traveling can quickly become the central mission of any trip, overshadowing any other experiential aspect. This is especially true when visiting temporary event locations or places that are primarily designed to receive tourists.
Solutions to traveling toilet needs have rarely been addressed by more than the construction (and then later neglect) of basic facilities or the placement of portable toilets. Since people show no signs of being able to prevent the call of nature, members of the tourism industry decided it was time to step up and explore alternative options that would make a visitor’s experience more comfortable and their experience altogether more pleasant.
China’s International Tourism Industry Expo hosts several hundred thousand visitors each year who flock there to see the latest and greatest in travel support. At this year’s expo, the opening remarks addressed the important role played by bathrooms in the tourist experience and the need to reconceptualize the bathroom as part of the continued development of the tourism industry.
Visitors there were not left hanging onto empty promises and daydreams. Instead, they were able to see the latest and greatest in portable bathroom technology in the form of a mobile 3D printed bathroom. The 3D printed facility offers 10 toilet seats and is possible to transport on any truck with a bed of 17.5 meters. Its geometrical design and spacious interior expands to 60 square meters of space after assembly.
Despite the innovative use of 3D printing technology, the fabrication of the bathroom cost approximately the same as a traditionally fabricated unit would. However, it comes with the added advantage of being able to be rolled in to provide relief wherever tourists are in need. It is not only created using the latest in additive manufacturing, it comes equipped with the latest technology. The 3D printed bathroom has sensors to monitor the number of occupants, the amount of water used, and the quantity of waste that is expelled. Wherever these units are deployed, they can be monitored by a centralized computer system.
“In the push to develop the tourism industry, bathrooms are part of the revolution,” said Guangdog’s governor, Zhu Xiaoping, in his remarks regarding this year’s Expo.
As is par for the course with 3D printed creations, these bathrooms also offer a lot of opportunity for site specific customization. One of the units on display was a facility for Changlu resort in Foshan. This particular facility has flooring meant to remind users of a forest path. As such, it has been designed to incorporate live grass and flowering plants. Those flowers help to keep the bathroom smelling pleasant, something not always to be expected in visiting the facilities on offer at tourist destinations.
What are your thoughts on this rather interesting use of 3D printing in the sanitation industry? Discuss in the 3D Printed Bathroom forum thread on 3DPB.com.