Easy Rider, eat your heart out.
Seriously Japan? Seriously? Every time I think that Japan’s invented the most ridiculous thing, whether it’s a burger made out of poop, sex doll dentistry robot, or a toilet-based video game, Japan just keeps taking it to the next level. All of these inventions are basically past the point of self-parody now.
But now the Japanese company Toto has upped the stakes yet again with their poop-powered motorcycle. Why on earth would anybody think that this is a good idea?
What is Toto? Before you say anything no, the Toto I’m talking about isn’t the dog from the Wizard of Oz, or the 80s band that had that song “Africa.” If you’ve ever seen or heard of those futuristic Japanese toilets with control panels that heat the seat, generate a courtesy flush noise and have a built-in bidet, it’s probably been made by Toto. In fact, Toto has even trademarked a name for these modern toilet control panels: “washlets.”
Not only has Toto conquered the bathroom in Japan, but it’s made a huge dent in the Japanese business world too. Toto is a major Japanese company, part of Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock market, and worth almost US$5 billion.
Waste Not, Want Not
The 3/11 disaster caused a huge energy shortage in Japan. Tons of power plants (including the infamous nuclear plants in Fukushima) were taken out of commission because of the earthquakes and tsunami, so the government began pushing for Japanese companies to cut down on their energy usage.
Companies have done this in lots of different ways. Some companies have used less air conditioning in the summer and encouraged their workers to wear cooler clothes. Toto, on the other hand, set their scientists hard at work in making a poop-powered vehicle.
Well okay, Toto is doing more than just that. The company aims to cut its total emissions by 50% over the next couple of years by doing lots of different things. The poop motorcycle is more of a icon for the whole effort rather than the product of it all.
Toilet Bike Neo Project
“Just a few…more…steps…”
But let’s get down to the motorcycle itself. It’s called the “Toilet Bike Neo Project,”and it’s fueled by “biogas,” a word I can only assume is a euphemism for “lots of poop.” The motorcycle will cruise from a Toto plant in the southern island of Kyushu all the way to Tokyo starting today, October 6. The cycle will ride around for about a month, stopping to educate people on Toto’s conservation efforts and visiting exciting locales such as this butt-shaped rock (yes, I’m serious.)
But that’s not even mentioning the cool features of the Toilet Bike Neo Project. The bike itself has a few novel features that you won’t find on any other poop-powered motorcycle:
But it wouldn’t be a Toto toilet unless it was somehow over the top. So that’s why the Toilet Bike Project not only plays music, but also features a talking toilet, complete with a lid that moves up and down like a mouth. All of the childhood nightmares you thought you were long past have culminated into a real-life, ivory terror.
Light Up Messages
Not only does this motorcycle run on biogas, but it has other cool features too. There are a series of LEDs on the side of the motorcycle and a small computer that controls them. As the motorcycle makes its rounds across the country, it can use the LEDs to write messages as it rides on by. It seems that these messages can’t really be seen unless they’re captured by a long-exposure camera, but it’s still a cool effect.
What kind of messages will the Toilet Bike Project spread? I would hope that it would warn people to stay away from the poop bike and its horrible stench, but more realistically, it will probably be used to spread messages about energy conservation and Toto.
Yeah, kind of like that.
What do you think of this biogas motorcycle? Do you think it can catch on in the real world, or is it just a novelty? Let me know in the comments!