Login| Sign Up| Help| Contact|

Patent Searching and Data


Title:
A TOILET AND ASSOCIATED APPARATUSES
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2008/024005
Kind Code:
A2
Abstract:
A toilet 1 has one or more of a washing unit with a nozzle in the lid 13 to provide a sweeping action of fluid over at least part of the cavity of the pan to clean the pan, a seat drying mechanism, a displacement flush system, a laminar jet for the flush system, an air and contaminated mist extraction system, a hand wash unit 303, a two part lid 13a,13b that opens via a horizontal movement, a new pan design, and a tissue dispenser and refuse unit. A nozzle, washing unit, and tissue dispenser are disclosed.

Inventors:
PURVIS, Grant, David (87A Nevay Road, Miramar, Wellington 6022, NZ)
FALCON, Rebecca, Louise (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
BLAKEMORE, Tom, Lawrence (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
WHITNEY, Bruce, James (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
WALL, Bryan (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
Application Number:
NZ2007/000239
Publication Date:
February 28, 2008
Filing Date:
August 23, 2007
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
BERNSTEIN RESEARCH LIMITED (c/-Simpson Grierson, Level 2HSBC Tower,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
WALKER, Denise (c/-Brabners Chaffe Street, Horton House Exchange Flags, Liverpool Merseyside L 23 YL, GB)
PURVIS, Grant, David (87A Nevay Road, Miramar, Wellington 6022, NZ)
FALCON, Rebecca, Louise (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
BLAKEMORE, Tom, Lawrence (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
WHITNEY, Bruce, James (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
WALL, Bryan (c/-Bernstein Research Limited, Simpson GriersonLevel 2, HSBC Tower,,195 Lambton Quay, Wellington, NZ)
International Classes:
A47K13/00; E03D11/00
Foreign References:
US3988788A
US4216553A
US4183105A
US4873729A
DE2907754A1
US5022098A
US6003159A
US4157161A
US3754576A
US4388950A
US6367095B2
US5502845A
Other References:
DATABASE WPI Week 199740, Derwent Publications Ltd., London, GB; Class Q42, AN 1997-432201 & JP 09 195366 A (DAIDO HOXAN INC) 29 July 1997
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
ADAMS, Matthew, D. et al. (A J Park, Intellectual Property Lawyers and Patent AttorneysHuddart Parker Building,1 Post Office Square, Wellington, NZ)
Download PDF:
Claims:

CLAIMS

1. A toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a lid for the pan that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, the lid comprising an inner surface that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration; and a cleaning mechanism configured to provide a cleaning operation of the pan following the toileting procedure and when the lid is in the closed configuration, the cleaning mechanism comprising at least one first nozzle provided in the inner surface of the Hd and configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid over at least part of the cavity of the pan to clean at least that part of the cavity of the pan.

2. A toilet as claimed in claim 1, wherein the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid having a sufficiently high pressure and flow rate to remove at least a majority of contaminants from a toileting procedure from said at least part of the cavity of the pan.

3. A toilet as claimed in claim 1 or 2, wherein the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid in a generally vertical movement in the cavity of the pan.

4. A toilet as claimed in claim 3, wherein the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid in a generally vertical movement in the cavity of the pan from an upper portion of the cavity of the pan to a lower portion of the cavity of the pan.

5. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 4, wherein the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a fluid spray with a generally flat wide angle fan-like shape for at least part of the sweeping action.

6. A toilet as claimed in claim 5, wherein the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a fluid spray with a generally flat wide angle fan-like shape for at least a major part of the sweeping action.

7. A toilet as claimed in claim 5 or 6, wherein the or each first nozzle comprises a housing having a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet from which a fluid spray is ejected, and a pivotable divider located at least substantially within the fluid outlet to concentrate the spray into the fan-like shape.

8. A toilet as claimed in claim 5, wherein the divider is freely pivotable, and the position of the divider is determined by fluid flow through the nozzle.

9. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 8, comprising a plurality of said first nozzles, and wherein the first nozzles are spaced from a position toward a front of the lid to a position toward a rear of the lid, and the first nozzle(s) positioned toward the front of the lid operate prior to the operation of the first nozzle(s) positioned toward the rear of the lid, to direct any movement of waste toward a rear of the pan and thereby toward a waste outlet of the pan.

10. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein the toilet comprises a seat portion

11. A toilet as claimed in claim 10, comprising a seat tray positioned beneath the seat portion.

• .1

12. A toilet as claimed in claim 11, wherein a peripheral portion of the seat tray cooperates with the lid when the lid is in the closed configuration to minimise fluid egress between the seat tray and the lid.

13. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 10 to 12, wherein the seat portion and/or seat tray are inwardly downwardly angled to assist in draining fluid from the seat portion and/or seat tray into the pan.

14. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 10 to 13, wherein the cleaning mechanism comprises a plurality of second nozzles provided in the inner surface of the lid and which are adapted to clean the seat portion.

15. A toilet as claimed in claim 14, wherein the second nozzles are configured to direct fluid to the seat portion at an acute angle.

16. A toilet as claimed in claim 14 or 15, wherein the second nozzles provide generally flat wide angle fan-like sprays.

17. A toilet as claimed in claim 14, wherein the second nozzles are configured to direct fluid into an air flow passing along an upper surface of the seat portion to clean the seat portion, with the air flow then being used to substantially dry the seat portion following the cleaning.

18. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 14 to 17, wherein the second nozzles are configured to clean the seat portion prior to the first nozzle(s) cleaning the pan.

19. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 14 to 18, wherein the cleaning mechanism comprises at least one third nozzle configured to wet tissue paper if present in the cavity of the pan.

20. A toilet as claimed in claim 19, wherein the third nozzle(s) is/are preferably configured to operate concurrently with, before, or immediately following the second nozzles, and prior to the operation of the first nozzle(s).

21. A toilet as claimed in claim 19 or 20, wherein the third nozzle(s) is/are each configured to provide a moderate angle hollow cone spray to the cavity of the pan.

22. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 19 to 21, wherein the cleaning mechanism comprises at least two said third nozzles.

23. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 22, wherein the lid has more than one lid part, each of which has an inner surface that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration of the lid, and wherein nozzles are provided in each lid part.

24. A toilet as claimed in claim 23, comprising a sealing element to provide a substantial seal between the lid parts when the lid is in the closed configuration.

25. A toilet as claimed in claim 24, wherein the sealing element comprises a sensor to detect when the Hd is in the closed configuration, and the cleaning mechanism comprises a controller to begin the cleaning operation upon said detection.

26. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 25, wherein the cleaning mechanism is capable of completing the cleaning operation in less than about seven seconds, and using less than about 1.5 litres of fluid.

27. A method of cleaning a toilet pan, comprising: providing a toilet as claimed in any one of claims 1 to 26, and following a toileting procedure and once the lid is in the closed configuration, providing a sweeping action of fluid over at least part of the cavity of the pan to clean at least that part of the cavity of the pan.

28. A method as claimed in claim 27, wherein the method comprises providing a sweeping action of fluid having a sufficiendy high pressure and flow rate to remove at least a majority of contaminants from a toileting procedure from said at least part of the cavity of the pan.

29. A method as claimed in claim 27 or 28 comprising, prior to providing the sweeping action over at least part of the cavity of the pan, cleaning a seat portion of the toilet.

30. A method as claimed in claim 29 comprising, either concurrendy with, before, or immediately following cleaning the seat portion, directing fluid into the cavity of the pan to wet any tissue paper in the pan prior to providing the sweeping action.

31. A method as claimed in claim 29 or 30, further comprising at least substantially drying at least part of the seat portion of the toilet, following cleaning of that part of the seat portion.

32. A toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a seat portion having an upper surface for supporting a user during a toileting procedure; a lid for the pan that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration; a cleaning mechanism configured to provide a cleaning operation of the seat portion following the toileting procedure; and a drying mechanism configured to substantially dry the seat portion by passing air along the upper surface of the seat portion between the seat portion and the lid and in a direction generally aligned with the upper surface to evaporate moisture and/or remove moisture from the upper surface.

33. A toilet as claimed in claim 32, wherein the seat portion has a first side and a second side, each positioned at or toward a respective side of a toilet pan, and the drying mechanism is configured to substantially dry one side of the seat portion at a time.

34. A toilet as claimed in claim 33, wherein the drying mechanism is configured to dry the first side of the seat portion by passing air along the first side from a rearmost end of the first side toward a front of the first side.

35. A toilet as claimed in claim 34, wherein the drying mechanism is configured to then dry the second side of the seat portion by passing air along the second side from a rearmost end of the second side toward a front of the second side.

36. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 33 to 35, wherein the first and second sides of the seat portion are connected at least at their front ends to provide a single unitary seat portion.

37. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 36, wherein the drying mechanism is configured to pass the air over the seat portion in a substantially laminar flow.

38. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 37, wherein in the closed configuration the lid is positioned over the seat portion, and the seat portion and lid are configured to provide at least one air flow tunnel between one or more inner surfaces of

the lid and the seat portion, and to substantially dry the seat by forcing air into the air flow tunnel(s).

39. A toilet as claimed in claim 38, wherein the air flow tunnel(s) is/are configured to constrain and force the air stream to move generally horizontally, in a laminar flow following the contour of the upper seat surface(s), from the or each rearmost end of the seat portion toward a forward end of the seat portion where the air streams travel into the pan cavity.

40. A toilet as claimed in claim 38 or 39, wherein the drying mechanism is configured to heat the air to a temperature of about 35° Celsius prior to entering the air flow tunnel(s) so that the air movement through the tunnel(s) warms the seat portion and lid surfaces through advection, helping to evaporate any remaining water residue.

41. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 38 to 40, wherein the inner surface of the lid has at least one channel formed therein which substantially matches a plan form and contour of at least part of the seat portion, and is substantially uniformly offset from the seat portion by between about 3 mm and about 7 mm in a vertical direction.

42. A toilet as claimed in claim 41, wherein the channels) has/have side walls that extend down to overlap outmost surfaces of the seat portion so that the gap therebetween is about 1.5 mm or less at the closest point.

43. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 42, configured such that air and water expelled along an innermost edge of the seat portion flows directly into the pan cavity, and water and air expelled along an outermost edge of the seat portion flows onto an inwardly downwardly angled surface of a seat tray beneath the seat portion.

44. A toilet as claimed in claim 43, further comprising an odour extraction system, wherein air being drawn into the pan cavity by the odour extraction system flows inwardly underneath the seat portion, assisting in draining and drying the seat tray surface.

45. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 42 to 44, wherein the lid has more than one lid part configured to open and close by a substantially horizontal movement between an open configuration and a closed configuration; the lid comprising an inner surface that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration.

46. A toilet as claimed in claim 45, wherein the lid parts are configured to lift or tilt upwards so that an overlapping innermost edge of each air flow tunnel wall clear the seat portion as the lid moves between an open and closed configuration.

47. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 46, wherein the drying system is configured to initially deliver cleaning fluid into the air flow to pass the cleaning fluid along said seat portion to clean the seat portion, and wherein the drying system is configured such that the air flow then substantially dries the seat portion following cleaning.

48. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 47, comprising an air outlet positioned adjacent to a rearmost end of each side of the seat portion and through which the air flow to dry the seat portion is blown so that the air flow is directed along the length of the seat portion.

49. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 32 to 48, wherein the drying system is configured to substantially dry half of the seat portion in about 30 to 35 seconds, using an air flow rate of about 4 cubic metres per minute.

50. A method of substantially drying a seat portion of a toilet, wherein the toilet has a lid that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, and wherein the seat portion has an upper surface for supporting a user during a toileting procedure, the method comprising passing air along the upper surface of the seat portion between the seat portion and the lid and in a direction generally aligned with the upper surface to evaporate moisture and/or remove moisture from the upper surface to thereby substantially dry the upper surface.

51. A method as claimed in claim 50, wherein the seat portion has a first side and a second side, each positioned at or toward a respective side of a toilet pan, and the method comprises substantially drying one side of the seat portion at a time.

52. A method as claimed in claim 51, comprising drying the first side of the seat portion by passing air along the first side from a rearmost end of the first side toward a front of the first side.

53. A method as claimed in claim 52, further comprising then drying the second side of the seat portion by passing air along said second side of the seat portion from a rearmost end of the second side toward a front of said second side.

54. A method as claimed in any one of claims 50 to 53, comprising passing the air over the seat portion in a substantially laminar flow.

55. A method as claimed in any one of claims 50 to 54, wherein in the closed configuration the lid is positioned over the seat portion, and the seat portion and lid are configured to provide at least one air flow tunnel between one or more inner surfaces of the lid and the seat portion, and the method comprises substantially drying the seat by forcing air into the air flow tunnel(s).

56. A method as claimed in claim 55, comprising heating the air to a temperature of about 35° Celsius prior to entering the air flow tunnel(s) so that the air movement through the tunnel(s) warms the seat portion and lid surfaces through advection, helping to evaporate any remaining water residue.

57. A method as claimed in any one of claims 50 to 56, comprising initially delivering cleaning fluid into the air flow to pass the cleaning fluid along said seat portion to clean the seat portion, and then substantially drying the seat portion with the air flow following cleaning.

58. A method as claimed in any one of claims 50 to 57, comprising substantially drying half of the seat portion in about 30 to 35 seconds, using an air flow rate of about 4 cubic metres per minute.

59. A nozzle for providing a fluid spray having a sweeping action, the nozzle comprising a body having a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet from which the fluid spray is ejected, and a pivotable divider located at least substantially within the fluid outlet, wherein the nozzle is configured to provide a sweeping action of the spray, which spray has a fan- like shape for at least part of the sweeping action.

60. A nozzle as claimed in claim 59, wherein the nozzle is configured to provide a fluid spray with a fan-like shape for at least a major part of the sweeping action.

61. A nozzle as claimed in claim 59 or 60, wherein the divider is freely pivotable, and the position of the divider is determined by flow through the nozzle.

62. A nozzle as claimed in any one of claims 59 to 61, wherein the nozzle comprises a fluid passage connecting the fluid inlet and the fluid outlet.

63. A nozzle as claimed in claim 62, wherein a control inlet is in fluid connection with the fluid passage, and is positioned substantially radially relative to the fluid passage.

64. A nozzle as claimed in claim 63, wherein the control inlet has an open configuration in which fluid is ejected from the control inlet, and a closed configuration in which fluid is not ejected from the control inlet.

65. A nozzle as claimed in claim 63 or 64, comprising an air valve operatively connected to the fluid passage, via an air inlet in fluid communication with the fluid passage.

66. A nozzle as claimed in claim 65, wherein the air inlet is substantially opposite to the control inlet.

67. A nozzle as claimed in claim 66, comprising a step or enlargement in the region of the air inlet, substantially opposite to the control inlet.

68. A nozzle as claimed in any one of claims 65 to 67, configured such that when the air valve is open and the control inlet is closed, an outlet spray is formed substantially along a surface of the fluid outlet closer to the control inlet.

69. A nozzle as claimed in claim 68, configured such that when the air valve is closed and the control inlet is open, an oudet spray is formed substantially along an opposite surface of the fluid outlet closer to the air inlet.

70. A nozzle as claimed in claim 69, wherein fluid flow is delivered to the control inlet via a siphoning action from the fluid inlet or fluid passage when the outlet spray is formed generally along the opposite surface of the fluid outlet closer to the air inlet.

71. A nozzle as claimed in claim 70, comprising a controller to control the siphoning action.

72. A nozzle as claimed in claim 71, wherein the controller is a solenoid.

73. A toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure and a waste outlet; a waste trap in fluid communication with the waste outlet of the pan and arranged to receive waste from the cavity, and which comprises a standing fluid pool level; and a flushing system comprising a fluid inlet configured to deliver a volume of flushing fluid into the waste outlet or waste trap beneath the cavity but above the standing fluid pool level at a relatively low pressure and a relatively high flow rate such that the flushing fluid forms a displacement volume of fluid that increases until a particular mass of fluid is reached, following which the fluid volume pushes the waste out of the waste trap.

74. A toilet as claimed in claim 73, wherein the fluid inlet is configured to deliver the flushing fluid into the waste outlet at a substantially horizontal orientation, so that the angle

of the incoming flushing fluid is generally parallel to the top of the standing fluid pool level.

75. A toilet as claimed in claim 73 or 74, wherein the fluid inlet is configured such that the incoming flushing fluid is directed toward an opposing wall surface.

76. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 73 to 75, wherein the waste trap comprises a reduction in diameter beneath the fluid inlet to provide a constriction.

77. A toilet as claimed in claim 76, wherein the reduced diameter portion is offset diametrically toward the fluid inlet.

78. A toilet as claimed in claim 76 or 77, comprising an angled wall that defines the reduction in diameter beneath the fluid inlet, to assist in forming the displacement volume of flushing fluid, and to accelerate the displacement volume of fluid as it passes over the angled wall and around an upper wall of the trap.

79. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 73 to 78, wherein the pan comprises a downwardly angled ledge that defines a base of the cavity and is above the fluid inlet, to assist in directing the flushing fluid downwardly and assist in maintaining the flushing fluid in the waste outlet and waste trap.

80. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 73 to 79, wherein an initial portion of the flushing cycle uses recycled fluid.

81. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 73 to 80, wherein the flushing system further comprises at least one fluid jet configured to direct a relatively high pressure and high velocity flow of fluid generally along a lower wall surface at the base of the waste trap, to form a substantially laminar flow.

82. A toilet as claimed in claim 81, wherein the flushing system comprises a plurality of said fluid jets.

83. A toilet as claimed in claim 82, wherein the plurality of fluid jets forms a substantially laminar flow over about a lower sixth of a circumference of the base of the waste trap.

84. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 81 to 83, wherein the flushing system is configured to operate the fluid jet(s) prior to movement of the displacement flow through the waste trap, to lift waste material sitting in the bottom of the waste trap to enable that to be ejected by the displacement flow.

85. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 81 to 84, wherein the flushing system is configured to operate the fluid jet(s) as the displacement flow through the waste trap is tapering off, to assist in ejecting waste matter from the waste trap.

86. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 73 to 85, wherein the waste trap is in fluid communication with an outlet weir, via a conduit that is inclined at an angle to horizontal, and wherein an angle between an upper wall surface of a sump bend of the waste trap and a lowest wall surface of the outlet weir is between about 25 degrees and about 40 degrees.

87. A toilet as claimed in claim 86, wherein the angle between the upper wall surface of the sump bend of the waste trap and the lowest wall surface of the outlet weir is about 30 degrees.

88. A toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure and a waste outlet; a waste trap in fluid communication with the waste outlet of the pan and arranged to receive waste from the cavity; and at least one fluid jet configured to direct a relatively high pressure and high velocity flow of fluid generally along a lower wall surface at the base of the waste trap, to form a substantially laminar flow.

89. A toilet as claimed in claim 88, wherein the waste outlet comprises a standing fluid pool level.

90. A toilet as claimed in claim 88 or 89, wherein the flushing system comprises a plurality of said fluid jets.

91. A toilet as claimed in claim 90, wherein the plurality of fluid jets forms a substantially laminar flow over about a lower sixth of a circumference of the base of the waste trap.

92. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 88 to 91, wherein the flushing system is configured to operate the fluid jet(s) prior to a main flushing flow of liquid through the waste trap, to lift waste material sitting in the bottom of the waste trap to enable that to be ejected by the main flushing flow.

93. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 88 to 92, wherein the flushing system is configured to operate the fluid jet(s) as the main flushing flow through the waste trap is tapering off, to assist in ejecting waste matter from the waste trap.

94. A toilet comprising: a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a lid for the pan that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration; and an extraction system configured to extract gas from within the pan at a first flow rate when the toilet is being used and to extract a mixture of gas and water vapour at a second flow rate higher than the first flow rate during a flush cycle of the toilet.

95. A toilet as claimed in claim 94, configured to clean the pan during the flush cycle.

96. A toilet as claimed in claim 94, wherein the toilet comprises at least one nozzle to spray a fluid over a seat portion of the toilet and/or into the pan.

97. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 94 to 96, wherein the flush cycle occurs when the lid is in the closed configuration, and the extraction system is configured to extract gas at the first flow rate when the toilet is being used and the lid is in the open

configuration, and to extract the mixture of gas and water vapour at the second flow rate during the flush cycle and when the lid is in the closed configuration.

98. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 94 to 97, wherein the toilet comprises a seat portion.

99. A toilet as claimed in claim 98, wherein the toilet comprises a seat tray positioned beneath the seat portion.

100. A toilet as claimed in claim 98 or 99, wherein the seat portion and/or seat tray are inwardly downwardly angled to assist in draining fluid from the seat portion and/or seat tray into the pan.

101. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 98 to 100, wherein the seat portion and lid are arranged such that the extraction system draws air into the pan between the lid and the seat portion, when the lid is in the closed configuration.

102. A toilet as claimed in claim 101, comprising a seal between the seat portion and the lid or between the pan and the lid to at least substantially contain water vapour within the pan during a flushing procedure.

103. A toilet as claimed in claim 102, comprising a gap in or near the seal to enable air to be drawn into the pan by the extraction system.

104. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 98 to 103, wherein the inward movement of air over the seat portion and under the lid minimises the build up of contaminated mist on the seat portion and the underside of the lid, during the cleaning of the pan.

105. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 98 to 104, comprising an opening in a rear region of the seat portion or behind the seat portion, to enable air to be drawn into the pan behind the seated user by the extraction system.

106. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 98 to 105, wherein the extraction system is configured to extract gas and/or the mixture of gas and water vapour from within the pan at a location beneath the seat portion.

107. A toilet as claimed in claim 106, comprising an extraction channel, extending at least substantially around the pan and in fluid communication with the interior of the pan.

108. A toilet as claimed in claim 107, wherein the extraction channel comprises a plurality of suction outlets spaced around the channel which are in fluid communication with an extractor fan.

109. A toilet as claimed in claim 108, wherein the plurality of suction outlets are in fluid communication with the extractor fan via respective conduits, and the conduits are configured so that a greater quantity of gas and the mixture is extracted from the rear of the pan than the front of the pan.

110. A toilet as claimed in claim 108 or 109, wherein the extractor fan is contained in a fan housing, and a fluid jet is configured to selectively spray fluid into an extractor fan impellor while it is operating to clean the impellor and the interior of the housing.

111. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 94 to 110, wherein the second flow rate is greater than about 1.5 times the first flow rate.

112. A toilet as claimed in claim 111, wherein the first flow rate is sufficient to extract an amount of gas from the pan equivalent to at least about twice an internal volume of the pan, each second.

113. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 94 to 112, wherein the extraction system is configured to deliver the extracted gas and the mixture of gas and water vapour to a waste outlet of the toilet, downstream of a water seal in the waste trap.

114. A toilet comprising: a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a seat portion for supporting a user during a toileting procedure; and a lid having two lid parts that are movable between a closed configuration in which they are in a generally horizontal orientation and cover the pan and the seat portion and an open configuration in which they are in a generally horizontal orientation and are spaced apart and positioned outwardly from the closed configuration, via a substantially horizontal movement.

115. A toilet as claimed in claim 114, wherein the toilet has a forward direction corresponding to a forward oriented seated or squatting position of a user over the pan and a rearward direction, and the lid parts when in the open configuration are spaced apart and positioned at least partly outwardly and at least partly rearwardly from the closed configuration.

116. A toilet as claimed in claim 115, wherein the lid parts move in a generally arcuate movement, as they move between the closed and open configurations.

117. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 114 to 116, wherein the lid movement is automated.

118. A toilet as claimed in claim 117, wherein the lid parts are configured to automatically move to the open configuration as a user approaches the toilet, and are configured to automatically move to the closed configuration following a toileting procedure by the user.

119. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 114 to 118, wherein the lid parts are removable or movable to a generally vertical orientation, only when the lid parts are in the open configuration, to enable an underside of the lid parts to be cleaned.

120. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 114 to 119, wherein the seat portion and lid are configured to provide at least one air flow tunnel between one or more inner surfaces of the Hd and the seat portion, so that the seat can be substantially dried by forcing air into

the air flow tunnel(s), and the lid parts are configured to lift or tilt upwards so that an overlapping innermost edge of each air flow tunnel wall clears the seat portion as the lid moves between an open and closed configuration.

121. A washing unit for washing one or more body parts of a user, comprising: a basin that is substantially open from above; a fluid source for delivering fluid into or above the basin; and a drying apparatus to at least partly dry the body part(s) of the user following a washing procedure, wherein the drying apparatus is configured to direct air flow generally toward an interior of the basin from above, so if the body part(s) of the user are positioned immediately over or in the basin, the air flow will direcdy impact on the user's body part(s), and part of the air flow will reflect off the interior of the basin and also impact on the user's body part(s).

122. A washing unit as claimed in claim 121, wherein the drying apparatus comprises at least one air flow outlet above and rearward of the basin interior

123. A washing unit as claimed in claim 121 or 122, wherein the washing unit comprises a support adapted to support the basin above a floor surface and at least one sensor configured to determine a user's height or position, and wherein the support is adapted to automatically adjust the height of the basin above the floor surface in response to a determination of a user's height or position.

124. A washing unit as claimed in claim 123, wherein the support is configured to adjust the height of the basin dependent on the height of die user.

125. A washing unit as claimed in claim 123 or 124, wherein the support is configured to adjust the height of the basin dependent on whedier the user is in a seated/ squatting or standing position when using die washing unit.

126. A washing unit as claimed in any one of claims 121 to 125, wherein the washing unit is fully automated, to wet, apply a cleaning product, rinse, and at least substantially dry

a user's body part(s), without the user having to physically contact the washing unit or operate manual controls.

127. A washing unit as claimed in any one of claims 121 to 125, configured to provide a split fluid spray, which enables a seated or squatting user to wet their hands with their palms facing down and a standing user to wet their hands with their palms facing up.

128. A washing unit as claimed in any one of claims 121 to 127, wherein the washing unit is a stand alone item.

129. A washing unit as claimed in any one of claims 121 to 127, wherein the washing unit is an integrated part of another item or appliance.

130. A washing unit as claimed in claim 129, wherein the washing unit is an integrated part of a toilet.

131. The combination of: a toilet comprising a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure, and a seat portion to support a user in a normal forward oriented seated or squatting position over the pan; and a hand wash unit positioned forward and to the side of the pan of the toilet such that the hand wash unit can be reached by an adult user of the toilet when the user is in the normal forward oriented seated or squatting position, wherein the hand wash unit is height adjustable and is configured to automatically adjust between a lowered position for a seated or squatting adult user of the toilet and a raised position for a standing adult user of the toilet.

132. The combination as claimed in claim 131, wherein the hand wash unit is stand alone and separate from the toilet.

133. The combination as claimed in claim 131, wherein the combination comprises a housing that houses at least the pan and the hand wash unit.

134. The combination as claimed in claim 133, wherein the housing houses a tank for containing fluid for flushing the toilet or operate manual controls.

135. The combination as claimed in claim 134, wherein the tank is positioned generally between the pan and the hand wash unit.

136. The combination as claimed in claim 134 or 135, wherein fluid from the hand wash unit is recycled and used for part of an initial part of a flushing or cleaning cycle of the toilet.

137. The combination as claimed in claim 136, comprising a storage reservoir for storing , fluid from the hand wash unit, prior to its use in the initial part of the flushing or cleaning cycle.

138. The combination as claimed in claim 137, wherein the toilet is adapted so that the fluid for flushing the toilet from the tank is passed through the storage reservoir, to clean the storage reservoir.

139. The combination as claimed in claim 137 or 138, wherein the toilet is adapted to empty and clean the storage reservoir if the fluid stored therein is not used within a certain time period.

140. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 131 to 139, wherein the hand wash unit is adapted to increase in height if a seated or squatting toilet user stands up without first washing dieir hands.

141. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 131 to 140, wherein the hand wash unit is adapted to adjust for the height of a standing user.

142. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 131 to 141, wherein the hand wash unit is fully automated, to wet, apply a cleaning product, rinse, and at least

substantially dry a user's hands, without the user having to physically contact the hand wash unit.

143. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 131 to 142, wherein the hand wash unit is. configured to provide a split fluid spray, which enables a seated or squatting user to wet their hands with their palms facing down and a standing user to wet their hands with their palms facing up.

144. A toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure, the cavity comprising a forward surface that extends downwardly and rearwardly and terminates in a rearward- facing ledge extending at least partly over a waste outlet of the pan, with the ledge arranged to partially occlude a standing water pool in the waste oudet or waste trap of die toilet.

145. A toilet pan as claimed in claim 144, wherein the pan is elongate front to rear, and the rearward-facing ledge terminates toward the rear of the pan.

146. A toilet as claimed in claim 144 or 145, wherein the cavity of the pan has a rear surface extending downwardly from an upper rear portion of the pan, and at least a portion of the rear surface is substantially vertical to minimise the likelihood of soiling the rear surface during a seated or squatting toileting procedure.

147. A toilet as claimed in any one of claims 144 to 146, wherein the rearward- facing ledge has a generally convex shape when viewed from above.

148. A toilet as claimed in claim 147, wherein an intersection of either side of the rearward-facing ledge and a wall of the pan forms an upwardly open channel region, to direct fluid into the waste outlet.

149. A tissue dispenser for dispensing one or more types of tissue, comprising: a housing configured to receive a cartridge; and a cartridge configured to hold a plurality of tissue rolls, wherein the cartridge is removable from the housing so that depleted tissue rolls in the cartridge can be replaced.

150. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 149, wherein the cartridge comprises a plurality of spindles to support respective tissue rolls.

151. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 150, wherein the cartridge comprises three or more spindles.

152. A tissue dispenser as claimed in any one of claims 149 to 151, wherein the tissue dispenser is operable to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

153. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 152, configured to position the fresh tissue roll automatically.

154. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 153, comprising a spring loaded or motor driven mechanism to rotate the cartridge automatically to position the fresh tissue roll.

155. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 152, configured to position the fresh tissue roll via a manual action.

156. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 155, comprising a dial that a user can turn to rotate the cartridge to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

157. A tissue dispenser as claimed in any one of claims 149 to 156, wherein the cartridge comprises a handle that can be used to remove the cartridge from the housing.

158. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 157, wherein the handle cooperates with the housing to secure the cartridge in place.

159. A tissue dispenser as claimed in any one of claims 149 to 158, wherein the tissue dispenser is a stand alone item.

160. A tissue dispenser as claimed in any one of claims 149 to 158, wherein the tissue dispenser is an integrated part of another item or appliance.

161. A tissue dispenser as claimed in claim 160, wherein the tissue dispenser is an integrated part of a toilet.

162. A tissue dispenser as claimed in any one of claims 149 to 161, wherein the housing configured to receive the cartridge additionally comprises a receptacle for waste.

163. A tissue dispenser as claimed in any one of claims 149 to 162, comprising indicia to indicate to a user when the cartridge is due to be refilled.

164. The combination of: a toilet comprising a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure, and a seat portion to support a user in a normal forward oriented seated or squatting position over the pan; and a tissue dispensing and refuse unit positioned forward and to the side of the pan of the toilet such that the tissue dispensing and refuse unit can be reached by an adult user of the toilet when the user is in the normal forward oriented seated or squatting position, or standing in front of the toilet.

165. The combination as claimed in claim 164, wherein the tissue dispensing and refuse unit is a stand alone item separate from the toilet.

166. The combination as claimed in claim 164, comprising a housing that houses at least the pan and the tissue dispensing and refuse unit.

167. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 164 to 166, wherein the tissue dispensing and refuse unit comprises a tissue dispenser having a housing configured to receive a cartridge, and a cartridge configured to hold a plurality of tissue rolls, wherein the cartridge is removable from the housing so that depleted tissue rolls in the cartridge can be replaced.

168. The combination as claimed in claim 167, wherein the cartridge comprises a plurality of spindles to support respective tissue rolls.

169. The combination as claimed in claim 168, wherein the cartridge comprises three or more spindles.

170. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 167 to 169, wherein the tissue dispenser is operable to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

171. The combination as claimed in claim 170, wherein the tissue dispenser is configured to position the fresh tissue roll automatically.

172. The combination as claimed in claim 171, comprising a spring loaded or motor driven mechanism to rotate the cartridge automatically to position the fresh tissue roll.

173. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 167 to 170, wherein the tissue dispenser is configured to position the fresh tissue roll via a manual action.

174. The combination as claimed in claim 173, comprising a dial that a user can turn to rotate the cartridge to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

175. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 167 to 174, wherein the cartridge comprises a handle that can be used to remove the cartridge from the housing.

176. The combination as claimed in claim 175, wherein the handle cooperates with the housing to secure the cartridge in place.

177. The combination as claimed in any one of claims 167 to 176, comprising indicia to 5.. indicate to a user when the cartridge is due to be refilled.

Description:

A TOILET AND ASSOCIATED APPARATUSES

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

Aspects of the present invention relate to a toilet. Other aspects of the present invention relate to associated apparatuses, including a washing unit, a spray nozzle, and a tissue dispenser.

BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION

Toileting is an essential part of every day life. A conventional toilet is manually operated by a user. Generally, the user will approach the toilet, manually lift the toilet lid if it is down, manually lift the seat if the toileting procedure requires the seat to be raised or manually lower the seat if the toileting procedure requires the seat to be lowered, before undertaking the toileting procedure. Following die toileting procedure, the user will manually flush the toilet, adjust their clothing, and possibly again move the seat or lid, prior to washing their hands — if the user washes their hands at all. This conventional procedure creates hygiene issues, as the user is required to touch contaminated surfaces of die toilet, as well as adjusting their clothes while their hands are still contaminated, thereby contaminating their clothes.

Additionally, conventional toilets have other issues. Generally, conventional toilets use water inefficiently during flushing. For example, when there is little or no debris in the toilet the flushing cycle may waste water, and when there is a large quantity of debris in the toilet the flushing cycle may not successfully flush the debris. As another issue, if a conventional toilet is flushed with the lid raised, a contaminated mist may be expelled from the toilet during flushing that can contaminate a user, the user's clothing, and surrounding surfaces in die room.

It is an object of at least preferred embodiments of the present invention to provide a toilet or an associated apparatus that goes at least some way to addressing one or more of die issues outlined above, or that at least provides the public with a useful choice.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The term 'comprising' as used in this specification and claims means 'consisting at least in part of, that is to say when interpreting statements in this specification and claims which include that term, the features prefaced by that term in each statement all need to be present but other features can also be present. Related terms such as 'comprise' and 'comprised' are to be interpreted in a similar manner.

It is intended that reference to a range of numbers disclosed herein (for example, 1 to 10) also incorporates reference to all rational numbers within that range (for example, 1, 1.1, 2, 3, 3.9, 4, 5, 6, 6.5, 7, 8, 9 and 10) and also any range of rational numbers within that range (for example, 2 to 8, 1.5 to 5.5 and 3.1 to 4.7) and, therefore, all sub-ranges of all ranges expressly disclosed herein are hereby expressly disclosed. These are only examples of what is specifically intended and all possible combinations of numerical values between the lowest value and the highest value enumerated are to be considered to be expressly stated in this application in a similar manner.

In accordance with a first aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a lid for the pan that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, the lid comprising an inner surface that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration; and a cleaning mechanism configured to provide a cleaning operation of the pan following the toileting procedure and when the lid is in the closed configuration, the cleaning mechanism comprising at least one first nozzle provided in the inner surface of the lid and configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid over at least part of the cavity of the pan to clean at least that part of the cavity of the pan.

Suitably, the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid having a sufficiently high pressure and flow rate to remove at least a majority of contaminants from a toileting procedure from said at least part of the cavity of the pan.

The first noz2le(s) may be configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid in a generally vertical movement in the cavity of the pan, preferably from an upper portion of the cavity of the pan to a lower portion of the cavity of the pan. Alternatively, the first nozzle(s) may be configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid in a forward and/or rearward direction of the cavity of the pan, with a generally horizontal movement. In another embodiment, the first nozzle(s) may provide a combination of those actions.

The first nozzle(s) is /are preferably configured to provide a fluid spray with a generally flat wide angle fan-like shape for at least part of the sweeping action. That is, the shape of the flow is preferably relatively wide in one dimension and relatively narrow in another dimension. In a most preferred embodiment, the first nozzle(s) is/are configured to provide a fluid spray with a generally flat wide angle fan-like shape for at least a major part of the sweeping action. However, in other embodiments, the fluid flow may have a different shape for at least some of the sweeping action. While a fan-like shape is preferred, that is not essential, and other spray shapes may be provided.

The or each first nozzle preferably comprises a housing having a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet from which a fluid spray is ejected, and a pivotable divider located at least substantially within the fluid outlet to concentrate the spray into the fan-like shape.

Preferably, the divider is freely pivotable, and the position of the divider is determined by fluid flow through the nozzle. Alternatively, the position of the divider could be controlled by an actuator such as an electric servo motor for example.

The cleaning mechanism advantageously comprises at least six said first nozzles.

The toilet preferably comprises a plurality of said first nozzles, and the first nozzles are preferably spaced from a position toward a front of the lid to a position toward a rear of the lid, and the first nozzle(s) positioned toward the front of the lid preferably operate prior to the operation of the first nozzle(s) positioned toward the rear of the lid, to direct any movement of waste toward the rear of die pan and thereby toward a waste outlet of the pan. Alternatively, die first nozzles may be configured to operate simultaneously.

The toilet suitably comprises a seat portion, which may be integral with the pan or may be a separate component mounted to the pan. In a preferred embodiment, the seat portion is a separate component that is mounted to the pan. The toilet may comprise a seat tray positioned beneath the seat portion. The seat tray may be integral with the pan or may be a separate component mounted to the pan. A peripheral portion of the seat tray preferably cooperates with the lid when the lid is in the closed configuration, to minimise fluid egress between the seat tray and the lid. The seat portion and/or seat tray are preferably inwardly downwardly angled to assist in draining fluid from the seat portion and/or seat tray into the pan.

The cleaning mechanism preferably comprises a plurality of second nozzles provided in the inner surface of the lid and which are adapted to clean the seat portion. The second nozzles may be configured to direct fluid to the seat portion at an acute angle. The second nozzles may provide generally flat wide angle fan-like sprays. Alternatively, other types of nozzles may be used. In an alternative embodiment, the second nozzles may be configured to direct fluid into an air flow passing along the surface of the seat portion to clean the seat portion, with the air flow then being used to substantially dry the seat portion following the cleaning. The second nozzles are preferably configured to clean the seat portion prior to the first nozzle(s) cleaning the pan.

The cleaning mechanism comprises at least two said second nozzles. In one embodiment, the cleaning mechanism may comprise four or more said second nozzles, and may comprise at least eight said second nozzles.

The cleaning mechanism preferably comprises at least one third nozzle configured to wet tissue paper if present in the cavity of the pan. The third nozzle(s) is/are preferably configured to operate concurrently with, before, or immediately following the second nozzles, and prior to the operation of the first nozzle(s). The third nozzle(s) may each be configured to provide a moderate angle hollow cone spray to the cavity of the pan. The cleaning mechanism preferably comprises at least two said third nozzles.

Each of the first, second, and/or diird nozzles may be the same design but adapted to spray in different ways, or alternatively could be different designs. The nozzles may be configured to deliver water, a chemical cleaning fluid, disinfectant, a combination of any of the above, or any other suitable fluid.

The lid is preferably provided with more than one lid part, each of which has an inner surface that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration of the lid, with nozzles provided in each lid part. For example, a left part and a right part may be provided that are configured to open and close by a horizontal movement. In the embodiment in which the lid is provided with more than one lid part, a sealing element preferably provides a substantial seal between the lid parts when the lid is in the closed configuration. The sealing element may comprise a sensor to detect when the lid is in the closed configuration, and the cleaning mechanism preferably comprises a controller to begin the cleaning operation upon said detection.

Alternatively, the lid could comprise a single lid part that could move to the closed configuration from the side, rear, or above for example.

The cleaning mechanism is preferably capable of completing the cleaning operation (cleaning but not drying the seat portion and pan cavity) in less than about seven seconds, and using less than about 1.5 litres of fluid.

In accordance with a second aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of cleaning a toilet pan, comprising: providing a toilet as outlined in relation to the first aspect above, and following a toileting procedure and once the lid is in the closed configuration, providing a sweeping action of fluid over at least part of the cavity of the pan to clean at least that part of the cavity of the pan.

Suitably, the method comprises providing a sweeping action of fluid having a sufficiently high pressure and flow rate to remove at least a majority of contaminants from a toileting procedure from said at least part of the cavity of the pan.

The method preferably comprises, prior to providing the sweeping action over at least part of the cavity of the pan, cleaning a seat portion of the toilet.

The method preferably comprises, either concurrently with, before, or immediately following cleaning the seat portion, directing fluid into the cavity of the pan to wet any tissue paper in the pan prior to providing the sweeping action.

The method preferably further comprises at least substantially drying at least part of the seat portion of the toilet, following cleaning of that part of the seat portion. The drying step preferably occurs following the cleaning of the seat and concurrently with cleaning the cavity of the pan.

In accordance with a third aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a lid for the pan that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration; a seat portion having an upper surface for supporting a user during a toileting procedure; a cleaning mechanism configured to provide a cleaning operation of the seat portion following the toileting procedure; and a drying mechanism configured to substantially dry the seat portion by passing air along the upper surface of the seat portion between the seat portion and the lid and in a direction generally aligned with the upper surface to evaporate moisture and/or remove moisture from the upper surface.

Preferably, the seat portion has a first side and a second side, each positioned at or toward a respective side of a toilet pan, and the drying mechanism is configured to substantially dry one side of the seat portion at a time. Preferably, the drying mechanism is configured to dry the first side of the seat portion by passing air along the first side from a rearmost end of the first side toward a front of the first side. Preferably, the drying mechanism is configured to then dry the second side of the seat portion by passing air along the second side from a rearmost end of the second side toward a front of the second side. Preferably, the first and second sides of the seat portion are connected at least at their front ends to provide a single unitary seat portion.

Preferably, the drying mechanism is configured to pass the air over the seat portion in a substantially laminar flow.

Preferably, in the closed configuration the lid is positioned over the seat portion, and the seat portion and lid are configured to provide at least one air flow tunnel between one or more inner surfaces of the lid and the seat portion, and to substantially dry the seat by forcing air into the air flow tunnel(s). Preferably, the air flow tunnel(s) is/are configured to constrain and force the air stream to move generally horizontally, in a laminar flow following the contour of the upper seat surface(s), from the or each rearmost end of the seat portion toward a forward end of the seat portion where the air streams travel into the pan cavity.

Preferably, the drying mechanism is configured to heat the air to a temperature of about 35° Celsius prior to entering the air flow tunnel(s) so that the air movement through the tunnel(s) warms the seat portion and lid surfaces through advection, helping to evaporate any remaining water residue.

Preferably, the inner surface of the lid has at least one channel formed therein which substantially matches a plan form and contour of at least part of the seat portion, and is substantially uniformly offset from the seat portion by between about 3 mm and about 7 mm in a vertical direction.

Preferably, the channel(s) has/have side walls that extend down to overlap outmost surfaces of the seat portion so that the gap therebetween is about 1.5 mm or less at the closest point. This constriction advantageously creates a pressure curtain along the lower innermost edges of the air flow tunnel that allows the water to be expelled and some air flow out, but constrains the majority of the air stream into a laminar flow. As an alternative, there may be no clearance between the side walls of the channel and the outermost surfaces of the seat portion.

Preferably, the toilet is configured such that air and water expelled along an innermost edge of the seat portion flows directly into the pan cavity, and water and air expelled along an

outermost edge of the seat portion flows onto an inwardly downwardly angled surface of a seat tray beneath the seat portion.

Preferably, the toilet comprises an odour extraction system, wherein air being drawn into the pan cavity by the odour extraction system flows inwardly underneath the seat portion, assisting in draining and drying the seat tray surface.

Preferably, the toilet lid has more than one lid part configured to open and close by a substantially horizontal movement between an open configuration and a closed configuration; the lid comprising an inner surface that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration. Preferably, the lid parts are configured to lift or tilt upwards so that an overlapping innermost edge of each air flow tunnel wall will clear the seat portion as the lid moves between an open and closed configuration. In an alternative embodiment, the lid parts may not lift or tilt; instead the seat portion may lower to clear the lid opening movement and then be repositioned back up to form the air flow tunnel configuration once the lid parts are closed.

Preferably, the drying system is configured to initially deliver cleaning fluid into the air flow to pass the cleaning fluid along said seat portion to clean the seat portion, and the drying system is configured such that the air flow then substantially dries the seat portion following cleaning. The cleaning fluid could be water, chemical cleaning fluid, disinfectant, a combination of any of the above, or any other suitable fluid.

Preferably, an air outlet is positioned adjacent to a rearmost end of each side of the seat portion and through which the air flow to dry the seat portion is blown so that the air flow is directed along the length of the seat portion.

In a preferred embodiment each air outlet is positioned in the seat tray and has an air- operated sealing flap which opens and deflects the air flow into the air flow tunnel. When closed, the flap suitably prevents fluid ingress into the air supply and heating mechanism. In a most preferred embodiment, the form of the flap cooperates with the inside surface of

the lid parts and rear uppermost edges of the seat portion to funnel the air flow into the narrowing air flow tunnel, thereby increasing its velocity.

Alternatively, the air flow into the air flow tunnel could be introduced through the lid or lid parts or through the seat portion itself.

Preferably, the drying system is configured to substantially dry half of the seat portion in about 30 to 35 seconds, using an air flow rate of about 4 cubic metres per minute.

In accordance with a fourth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a method of substantially drying a seat portion of a toilet, wherein the toilet has a lid that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration, and wherein the seat portion has an upper surface for supporting a user during a toileting procedure, the method comprising passing air along the upper surface of the seat portion between the seat portion and the lid and in a direction generally aligned with the upper surface to evaporate moisture and/or remove moisture from the upper surface to thereby substantially dry the upper surface.

Preferably, the seat portion has a first side and a second side, each positioned at or toward a respective side of a toilet pan, and the method comprises substantially drying one side of the seat portion at a time. The method may comprise drying the first side of the seat portion by passing air along the first side from a rearmost end of the first side toward a front of the first side. The method may further comprise then drying the second side of the seat portion by passing air along the second side from a rearmost end of the second side toward a front of the second side. The first and second sides may be connected at least at their front ends to provide a single unitary seat portion, or could alternatively be fully separate.

Preferably, the method comprises passing air over the seat portion in a substantially laminar flow.

In a preferred embodiment, in the closed configuration the lid is positioned over the seat portion, and the seat portion and lid are configured to provide at least one air flow tunnel between one or more inner surfaces of the lid and the seat portion, and to substantially dry the seat by forcing air into the air flow tunnel(s). Preferably, the air flow tunnel(s) is/are configured to constrain and force the air stream to move generally horizontally, in a laminar flow following the contour of the upper seat surface(s), from the or each rearmost end of the seat portion towards a nose of the seat portion where the air streams travel into the pan cavity.

The or each air flow tunnel preferably compresses the air volume into a high velocity stream at a substantially consistent pressure over the respective side of the upper seat surface, such that the velocity and density of the air stream is sufficient to dislodge water adhering to the seat surface and push it along the length of the seat portion, the accumulative weight and volume of the moving water colliding and therefore helping to dislodge water particles in front of it, discharging the water into the pan cavity and drying the seat. In a most preferred embodiment, the air is heated to a temperature of about 35° Celsius prior to entering the air flow tunnel(s) so that the air movement through the tunnel(s) warms the seat portion and lid surfaces through advection, helping to evaporate any remaining water residue. That preferably decreases the seat drying time and leaves the seat portion warm to the touch.

The method may comprise initially delivering cleaning fluid into the air flow to pass the cleaning fluid along said seat portion to clean the seat portion, and then substantially drying the seat portion with the air flow following cleaning.

In accordance with a fifth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a nozzle for providing a fluid spray having a sweeping action, the nozzle comprising a body having a fluid inlet and a fluid outlet from which the fluid spray is ejected, and a pivo table divider located at least substantially within the fluid outlet, wherein the nozzle is configured to provide a sweeping action of the spray, which spray has a fan-like shape for at least part of the sweeping action.

That is, the shape of the fluid spray is relatively wide in one dimension and relatively narrow in anodier dimension. In a most preferred embodiment, the nozzle is configured to provide a fluid spray with a fan-like shape for at least a major part of the sweeping action.

Preferably, the divider is freely pivotable, and the position of the divider is determined by flow through the nozzle. Alternatively, the position of the divider could be controlled by an actuator such as an electric servo motor for example.

The nozzle preferably comprises a fluid passage connecting the fluid inlet and the fluid oudet. A control inlet is preferably in fluid connection with the fluid passage, preferably substantially radially relative to the fluid passage. The control inlet preferably has an open configuration in which fluid is ejected from the control inlet, and a closed configuration in which fluid is not ejected from the control inlet. An air valve is preferably operatively connected to the fluid passage via an air inlet in fluid communication with the fluid passage. Preferably, the air inlet is substantially opposite to the control inlet. A step or enlargement may be provided in the region of the air inlet, substantially opposite to the control inlet.

The nozzle is suitably configured to form an outlet spray substantially along a surface of the fluid oudet closer to the control inlet, when the air valve is open and the control inlet is closed. To form an oudet spray generally along an opposite surface of the fluid oudet closer to the air inlet, the air valve will be closed and the control inlet will be open. Fluid flow is preferably delivered to the control inlet via a siphoning action from the fluid inlet or fluid passage when the oudet spray is formed generally along the opposite surface of the fluid oudet closer to the air inlet. That siphoning action may be controlled by a controller such as a solenoid or the like.

In accordance with a sixth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure and a waste oudet; a waste trap in fluid communication with the waste oudet of the pan and arranged to receive waste from the cavity, and which comprises a standing fluid pool level;

and a flushing system comprising a fluid inlet configured to deliver a volume of flushing fluid into the waste outlet or waste trap beneath the cavity but above the standing fluid pool level at a relatively low pressure and a relatively high flow rate, such that the flushing fluid forms a displacement volume of fluid that increases until a particular mass of fluid is reached, following which the fluid volume pushes the waste out of the waste trap.

The fluid inlet is preferably configured to deliver the flushing fluid into the waste outlet at a substantially horizontal orientation, so that the angle of the incoming flushing fluid is generally parallel to the top of the standing fluid pool level.

The fluid inlet is preferably configured such that the incoming flushing fluid is directed toward an opposing wall surface.

The waste trap preferably comprises a reduction in diameter beneath the fluid inlet to provide a constriction. The reduced diameter portion is preferably offset diametrically toward the fluid inlet. An angled wall preferably defines the reduction in diameter beneath the fluid inlet, to assist in forming the displacement volume of flushing fluid, and to accelerate the displacement volume of fluid as it passes over the angled wall and around an upper wall of the trap.

The pan preferably comprises a downwardly angled ledge that defines a base of the cavity and is above the fluid inlet, to assist in directing the flushing fluid downwardly and assist in maintaining the flushing fluid in the waste outlet and waste trap.

Preferably, an initial portion of the flushing cycle uses recycled fluid.

The flushing system preferably further comprises at least one fluid jet configured to direct a relatively high pressure and high velocity flow of fluid generally along a lower wall surface at the base of the waste trap, to form a substantially laminar flow. The flushing system preferably comprises a plurality of said fluid jets. The plurality of fluid jets preferably forms a substantially laminar flow over about a lower third of a circumference of the base

of the waste trap. The flow from the jet(s) preferably moves at a greater velocity than the velocity (if any) of the main volume of fluid in the waste trap.

The flushing system is preferably configured to operate the fluid jet(s) prior to movement of the displacement flow through the waste trap, to lift waste material sitting in the bottom of the waste trap to enable that to be ejected by the displacement flow. Alternatively, or in addition, the flushing system is preferably configured to operate the fluid jet(s) as the displacement flow through the waste trap is tapering off, to assist in ejecting waste matter from the waste trap.

Preferably, the waste trap is in fluid communication with an outlet weir, via a conduit that is inclined at an angle to horizontal, and the angle between an upper wall surface of a sump bend of the waste trap and a lowest wall surface of the outlet weir, is between about 25 degrees and about 40 degrees, more preferably about 30 degrees.

In accordance with a seventh aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet comprising: a pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure and a waste outlet; a waste trap in fluid communication with the waste outlet of the pan and arranged to receive waste from the cavity; and at least one fluid jet configured to direct a relatively high pressure and high velocity flow of fluid generally along a lower wall surface at the base of the waste trap, to form a substantially laminar flow.

Preferably, the waste outlet comprises a standing fluid pool level.

The flushing system preferably comprises a plurality of said fluid jets. The plurality of fluid jets preferably forms a substantially laminar flow over about a lower sixth of a circumference of the base of the waste trap. The flow from the jet(s) preferably moves at a greater velocity than the velocity (if any) of the main volume of fluid in the waste trap.

The flushing system is preferably configured to operate the fluid jet(s) prior to a main flushing flow of liquid through the waste trap, to lift waste material sitting in the bottom of the waste trap to enable that to be ejected by the main flushing flow. Alternatively, or in

addition, the flushing system is preferably configured to operate the fluid jet(s) as the main flushing flow through the waste trap is tapering off, to assist in ejecting waste matter from the waste trap.

In accordance with an eighth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet comprising: a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a lid for the pan that is movable between an open configuration and a closed configuration; and an extraction system configured to extract gas from within the pan at a first flow rate when the toilet is being used and to extract a mixture of gas and water vapour at a second flow rate higher than the first flow rate during a flush cycle of the toilet.

Preferably, the toilet is configured to clean the pan during the flush cycle. The toilet preferably comprises at least one nozzle to spray a fluid over a seat portion of the toilet and/or into the pan.

Preferably, the flush cycle occurs when the lid is in the closed configuration, and the extraction system is configured to extract gas at the first flow rate when the toilet is being used and the lid is in the open configuration, and to extract the mixture of gas and water vapour at the second flow rate during the flush cycle and when the lid is in the closed configuration.

The toilet suitably comprises a seat portion, which may be integral with the pan or may a separate component mounted to the pan. In a preferred embodiment, the seat portion is a separate component that is mounted to the pan. The toilet may comprise a seat tray positioned beneath the seat portion. The seat tray may be integral with the pan or may be a separate component mounted to the pan. The seat portion and/or seat tray are preferably inwardly downwardly angled to assist in draining fluid from the seat portion and/or seat tray into the pan.

The seat portion and lid are preferably arranged such that the extraction system draws air into the pan between the lid and the seat portion, when the lid is in the closed configuration. A seal, such as an overlapping seal or the like for example, may be provided

between the seat portion and the lid or the pan and the lid to at least substantially contain water vapour within the pan during a flushing procedure. However, a small gap — such as in the order of about 3mm in size for example — may be provided in or near the seal to enable air to be drawn into the pan by the extraction system. The inward movement of air over the seat portion and under the lid preferably minimises the build up of contaminated mist on the seat portion and the underside of the lid, during the cleaning of the pan.

The seat portion preferably comprises at least one surface to support a user's buttocks. An opening is preferably provided in a rear region of the seat portion to provide clearance when a user is sitting on the seat portion, or behind the seat portion, to enable air to be drawn into the pan behind the seated user by the extraction system.

The extraction system is preferably configured to extract gas and/or the mixture of gas and water vapour from within the pan at a location beneath the seat portion. Preferably, the toilet comprises an extraction channel, extending at least substantially around the pan and in fluid communication with the interior of the pan. The extraction channel suitably comprises a plurality of suction outlets spaced around the channel, which are in fluid communication wiύi an extractor fan, preferably by respective conduits. The respective conduits are preferably configured so that a greater quantity of gas and the mixture is extracted from the rear of the pan than the front of the pan. The suction outlets and/or conduits may be part of a moulded component.

The extraction fan is suitably contained in a fan housing, and a fluid jet may be configured to selectively spray fluid into an extractor fan impeller while it is operating to clean the impellor and the interior of the housing. A fluid jet may alternatively be configured to clean the extraction conduit, the fluid from which will also clean the operating fan impellor and interior of the housing.

The second flow rate is preferably greater than about 1.5 times the first flow rate. The first flow rate is preferably sufficient to extract an amount of gas from the pan equivalent to at least about twice an internal volume of the pan, each second. The second flow rate is preferably sufficient to extract an amount of the mixture of gas and water vapour from the

pan equivalent to at least about three times the internal volume of the pan, each second. More preferably, the second flow rate is sufficient to extract an amount of the mixture from the pan equivalent to at least about three and a half times the internal volume of the pan, each second.

The extraction system is suitably configured to deliver the extracted gas and the mixture of gas and water vapour to a waste outlet of the toilet, downstream of a water seal in the waste trap. Alternatively, the extraction system could be configured to vent the gas to atmosphere, externally of the toilet room, for example. In that configuration, water vapour would suitably be directed to the waste outlet of the toilet or to the sewer, and gas would suitably be vented to atmosphere.

In accordance with a ninth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet comprising: a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure; a seat portion for supporting a user during a toileting procedure; and a lid having two lid parts that are movable between a closed configuration in which they are in a generally horizontal orientation and cover the pan and the seat portion and an open configuration in which they are in a generally horizontal orientation and are spaced apart and positioned outwardly from the closed configuration, via a substantially horizontal movement.

Preferably, the toilet has a forward direction corresponding to a forward oriented seated or squatting position of a user over the pan and a rearward direction, and the lid parts when in the opened configuration are spaced apart and positioned outwardly and at least partly rearwardly from the closed configuration. The lid parts preferably move in a generally arcuate movement, as they move between the closed and open configurations.

In the open configuration, the entire lid portions may be positioned fully outside the bounds of the Ud portions when in the closed configuration. Alternatively, they may be positioned partly outside the bounds of the lid portions when in the closed configuration. Both variants are considered to be "outwardly".

The lid movement is preferably automated. Advantageously, the lid parts are

configured to automatically move to the open configuration as a uset approaches the toilet, and are configured to automatically move to the closed configuration following a toileting procedure by the user.

The lid parts are preferably removable or movable to a generally vertical orientation only when the lid parts are in the open configuration, to enable an underside of the lid parts to be cleaned.

Preferably, the seat portion and lid are configured to provide at least one air flow tunnel between one or more inner surfaces of the lid and the seat portion, so that the seat can be substantially dried by forcing air into the air flow tunnel(s), and the lid parts are configured to lift or tilt upwards so that an overlapping innermost edge of each air flow tunnel wall clears the seat portion as the lid moves between an open and closed configuration.

In accordance with a tenth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a washing unit for washing one or more body parts of a user, comprising: a basin that is substantially open from above; a fluid source for delivering fluid into or above the basin; and a drying apparatus to at least partly dry the body part(s) of the user following a washing procedure, wherein the drying apparatus is configured to direct air flow generally toward an interior of the basin from above, so if the body part(s) of the user are positioned immediately over or in the basin, the air flow will directly impact on the user's body part(s), and part of the air flow will reflect off the interior of the basin and also impact on the user's body part(s).

Preferably, the drying apparatus comprises at least one air flow outlet above and rearward of the basin interior.

Preferably, the washing unit comprises a support adapted to support the basin above a floor surface and at least one sensor configured to determine a user's height or position; and the support is adapted to automatically adjust the height of the basin above the floor surface in response to a determination of a user's height or position.

The support may be configured to adjust the height of the basin dependent on the height of the user. Alternatively, or in addition, the support may be configured to adjust the height of the basin dependent on whether the user is in a seated/squatting or standing position when using the washing unit.

Preferably, the washing unit is fully automated, to wet, apply a cleaning product, rinse, and at least substantially dry a user's body part(s), without the user having to physically contact the washing unit or operate manual controls.

The washing unit is preferably configured to provide a split fluid spray, which enables a seated or squatting user to wet their hands with their palms facing down and a standing user to wet their hands with their palms facing up.

The washing unit may be a stand alone item, or may be an integrated part of another item or appliance. Preferably, the washing unit is an integrated part of a toilet.

In accordance with an eleventh aspect of the present invention, there is provided the combination of: a toilet comprising a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure, and a seat portion to support a user in a normal forward oriented seated or squatting position over the pan; and a hand wash unit positioned forward and to the side of the pan of the toilet such that the hand wash unit can be reached by an adult user of the toilet when the user is in the normal forward oriented seated or squatting position, wherein the hand wash unit is height adjustable and is configured to automatically adjust between a lowered position for a seated or squatting adult user of the toilet and a raised position for a standing adult user of the toilet.

The hand wash unit may be stand alone and separate from the toilet. Alternatively, the combination may comprise a housing that houses at least the pan and the hand wash unit. The housing may house a tank for containing fluid for flushing the toilet, preferably positioned generally between the pan and the hand wash unit.

Preferably, fluid from the hand wash unit is recycled and used for part of an initial part of a flushing or cleaning cycle of the toilet. The toilet preferably comprises a storage reservoir for storing fluid from the hand wash unit, prior to its use in the initial part of the flushing or cleaning cycle. The toilet is preferably adapted so that the fluid for flushing the toilet from the tank is passed through the storage reservoir, to clean the storage reservoir. The toilet may be adapted to empty and clean the storage reservoir if the fluid stored therein is not used within a certain time period, such as twelve hours for example. That may occur by initiating a cleaning or flushing cycle of the toilet.

The hand wash unit is preferably adapted to increase in height if a seated or squatting toilet user stands up without first washing their hands.

The hand wash unit may be adapted to adjust for the height of a standing user.

Preferably, the hand wash unit is fully automated, to wet, apply a cleaning product, rinse, and at least substantially dry a user's hands, without the user having to physically contact the hand wash units or operate manual controls.

The hand wash unit is preferably configured to provide a split fluid spray, which enables a seated or squatting user to wet their hands with their palms facing down and a standing user to wet their hands with their palms facing up.

In accordance with a twelfth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure, the cavity comprising a forward surface that extends downwardly and rearwardly and terminates in a rearward- facing ledge extending at least partly over a waste outlet of the pan, with the ledge arranged to partially occlude a standing water pool in the waste outlet or waste trap of the toilet.

Preferably, the pan is elongate front to rear, and the rearward-facing ledge terminates toward the rear of the pan.

Preferably, the cavity of the pan has a rear surface extending downwardly from an upper rear portion of the pan, and at least a portion of the rear surface is substantially vertical to minimise the likelihood of soiling the rear surface during a seated or squatting toileting procedure.

The rearward-facing ledge preferably has a generally convex shape when viewed from above. Preferably, an intersection of either side of the rearward-facing ledge and a wall of the pan forms an upwardly open channel region, to direct fluid into the waste oudet.

In accordance with a thirteenth aspect of the present invention, there is provided a tissue dispenser for dispensing one or more types of tissue, comprising: a housing configured to receive a cartridge; and a cartridge configured to hold a plurality of tissue rolls, wherein the cartridge is removable from the housing so that depleted tissue rolls in the cartridge can be replaced.

The cartridge preferably comprises a plurality of spindles to support respective tissue rolls. Preferably, the cartridge comprises three or more spindles.

Preferably, the tissue dispenser is operable to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted. The tissue dispenser may be configured to position the fresh tissue roll automatically. The dispenser could have a spring loaded or motor driven mechanism to rotate the cartridge automatically to position the fresh tissue roll. Alternatively, the tissue dispenser may be configured to position the fresh tissue roll via a manual action. The tissue dispenser may comprise a dial that a user can turn to rotate the cartridge to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

The cartridge may comprise a handle that can be used to remove the cartridge from the housing. The handle preferably cooperates with the housing to secure the cartridge in place.

The tissue dispenser may be a stand alone item, or may be an integrated part of another item or appliance. Preferably, the tissue dispenser is an integrated part of a toilet.

The housing configured to receive the cartridge may additionally comprise a receptacle for waste, such as tissue or sanitary waste for example.

Preferably, the dispenser comprises indicia to indicate to a user when the cartridge is due to be refilled. The indicia could be provided on the housing or dial for example.

Alternatively, an electronic display could be provided to indicate to the user when the cartridge is due to be refilled.

In accordance with a fourteenth aspect of the present invention, there is provided the combination of: a toilet comprising a toilet pan having a cavity for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure, and a seat portion to support a user in a normal forward oriented seated or squatting position over the pan; and a tissue dispensing and refuse unit positioned forward and to the side of the pan of the toilet such that the tissue dispenser and refuse unit can be reached by an adult user of the toilet when the user is in the normal forward oriented seated or squatting position, or standing in front of die toilet.

The tissue dispensing and refuse unit may be a stand alone item separate from the toilet. Alternatively, the combination may comprise a housing that houses at least the pan and the tissue dispensing and refuse unit.

Preferably, the tissue dispensing and refuse unit comprises a tissue dispenser having a housing configured to receive a cartridge, and a cartridge configured to hold a plurality of tissue rolls, and the cartridge is removable from the housing so that depleted tissue rolls in die cartridge can be replaced.

Preferably, the cartridge comprises a plurality of spindles to support respective tissue rolls. Preferably, the cartridge comprises three or more spindles.

The tissue dispenser may be operable to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

Preferably, the tissue dispenser is configured to position the fresh tissue roll automatically. The tissue dispenser may comprise a spring loaded or motor driven mechanism to rotate the cartridge automatically to position the fresh tissue roll.

Alternatively, the tissue dispenser may be configured to position the fresh tissue roll via a manual action. Preferably, the tissue dispenser comprises a dial that a user can turn to rotate the cartridge to position a fresh tissue roll ready for use once an earlier roll is depleted.

Preferably, the cartridge comprises a handle that can be used to remove the cartridge from the housing. Preferably, the handle cooperates with the housing to secure the cartridge in place.

Preferably, the combination comprises indicia to indicate to a user when the cartridge is due to be refilled.

Where specific integers are mentioned herein which have known equivalents in the art to which this invention relates, such known equivalents are deemed to be incorporated herein as if individually set forth.

The invention consists in the foregoing and also envisages constructions of which the following gives examples only.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

Preferred forms of the invention will now be described with reference to the accompanying figures in which:

Figure 1 is a front overhead perspective view of a preferred form toilet; Figure 2 is a plan view of a preferred form pan from the toilet of Figure 1 ; Figure 3 is a side sectional view along line 3-3 of Figure 2;

Figure 4 is an overhead perspective view of the pan of Figure 2, showing the dynamics of fluid flow therein;

Figure 5 is an underside front perspective view of the pan of Figures 2 to 4;

Figure 6 is a schematic plan view of the toilet of Figure 1, showing a preferred form arrangement of nozzles;

Figure 7 is a front sectional view along line 7-7 of Figure 6; Figure 8 is a plan view of a preferred form coanda nozzle suitable for use in cleaning the pan of the toilet of Figure 1 , showing a pivotable divider and a fan-like spray

Figure 9 is a side view of a preferred form coanda nozzle of Figure 8, showing the pivotable divider and the limits of the sweeping fan-like spray

Figure 10 is an exploded view of preferred form components of the coanda nozzle of Figures 8 and 9;

Figure 1 Ia is a side sectional view along line 11-11 of Figure 8, showing the dynamics of fluid flow therein produced by the Coanda effect;

Figure 1 Ib is a front sectional view along line 11-11 of Figure 8, showing the sweeping action produced by the Coanda effect; Figure 12 is a side sectional view of a preferred form waste trap region of the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 13a, 13b, and 13c are a rear perspective, front overhead perspective, and front view respectively of the waste trap of Figure 12;

Figure 14a and 14b are a side perspective and a side sectional view respectively of a preferred form outlet pipe, waste trap, and lower pan region of the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 15 is a schematic plan view showing the positioning of the preferred form components in a contaminated mist extraction system of the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 16 is a front sectional view along line 16-16 of Figure 15, showing air and water vapour flow in a contaminated mist extraction system; Figure 17 is a front sectional view along line 17-17 of Figure 15, showing air flow in a contaminated mist extraction system with the lid retracted;

Figure 18 is a schematic sectional view through the fan housing of Figure 15, showing components of the preferred form fan system;

Figure 19 is a plan view showing a user in a normal forward seated position on the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 20 is an exploded view of preferred form components of the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 21 is a front sectional view along line 21 -21 of Figure 20;

Figure 22 is a schematic plan view of the lid parts showing the positioning of the preferred form components and air flow in a seat drying system of the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 23 is a front sectional view along line 23-23 of Figure 22, showing the tunnel in a seat drying system of the toilet of Figure 1 ;

Figure 24 is a side sectional view along line 24-24 of Figure 22, showing the tunnel and air and water movement in a seat drying system of the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 25 is a schematic plan view of the toilet of Figure 1 showing the preferred form lid arrangement; Figure 26 is a front overhead perspective view showing features of the preferred form lid arrangement;

Figure 27 is an exploded view of part of a preferred form mechanism for operating the lid arrangement;

Figure 28 is a schematic plan diagram of a preferred form drying system for the seat and hand wash unit;

Figure 29 is a schematic view of a preferred form plumbing system for the toilet of Figure 1;

Figure 30 is an external view of a preferred form valve assembly for controlling flow of flushing fluid in the toilet of Figure 1 ; Figure 31 is a schematic sectional plan view of the valve assembly of Figure 30;

Figure 32 is a schematic sectional side view of the valve assembly of Figure 30;

Figure 33a and 33b are a plan and perspective view respectively of a preferred form iris valve that is suitable for use in the valve assembly of Figure 30;

Figure 33c is a perspective view of the iris valve of Figure 30 when it is closed; Figure 34 is a sectional plan view along line 34-34 of Figure 33c showing the iris valve partly closed;

Figure 35 is a sectional plan view along line 35-35 of Figure 33c showing the iris valve more tightly closed;

Figure 36a is a front perspective view of the toilet of Figure 1 , showing a user washing his hands in a seated position using a preferred form hand wash unit;

Figure 36b is a front perspective view of the toilet of Figure 1, showing a user washing his hands in a standing position;

Figure 37 is a schematic side view of a basin region of the hand wash unit of Figure 36a and 36b, showing the positioning of a user's hands as they are being washed;

Figure 38 is a plan view showing a seated and standing user washing his hands;

Figure 39 is a perspective view of the hand wash unit as shown in Figure 36a and 36b, showing a wetting stage of a washing cycle;

Figure 40 is a perspective view similar to Figure 39, showing a soaping stage of a washing cycle;

Figure 41 is a perspective view similar to Figure 39, showing a drying stage of a washing cycle; Figure 42 is a detail view showing preferred form components of the hand wash unit of Figure 36a and 36b;

Figure 43 is a rear overhead perspective detail view of a preferred form toilet of Figure 1, showing a preferred form static tower and a toilet roll dispenser;

Figure 44 is a rear overhead enlarged and partially exploded perspective view of the preferred form static tower and toilet roll dispenser of Figure 43;

Figure 45 is a sectional schematic side view of the static tower and toilet roll dispenser of Figure 43 showing a preferred arrangement of components and mechanism of a toilet roll dispenser

Figure 46a is a sectional side view along line 46-46 of Figure 45, showing details of the mechanism;

Figure 46b is a detail view of part of the mechanism of Figure 46a;

Figure 47 is a summary diagram of the features of the logic diagram of Figures 48a to 48d;

Figures 48a, 48b, and 48c are a logic diagram of part of the toilet of Figure 1; Figure 48d is a logic diagram of a preferred flushing sequence;

Figure 48e is a logic diagram of a preferred form hand wash sequence;

Figure 48f is a logic diagram of a bidet sequence;

Figure 49 is a schematic plan view of an alternative preferred embodiment toilet, showing an alternative preferred form arrangement of nozzles; Figure 50 is a front sectional view along line 50-50 of Figure 49;

Figure 51 is a schematic plan view of the lid parts showing the positioning of the alternative preferred form components and air flow in a seat washing and drying system of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet;

Figure 52 is a front sectional view along line 52-52 of Figure 51, showing the tunnel in a seat drying system of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet;

Figure 53 is a side sectional view along line 53-53 of Figure 51, showing the tunnel and air and water movement in a seat washing and drying system of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet;

Figures 54a, 54b, and 54c are a logic diagram of part of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet;

Figure 54d is a logic diagram of a preferred flushing sequence of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet;

Figure 54e is a logic diagram of a preferred form hand wash sequence of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet; and Figure 54f is a logic diagram of a bidet sequence of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet;

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF PREFERRED FORMS

Figure 1 shows a preferred form toilet of the present invention. The toilet has a main housing 1 which, when viewed from above, is generally U-shaped. The housing houses a toilet pan described in more detail below with reference to Figures 2 to 5; and fluid tanks to hold fluid for washing and/or flushing the toilet described in more detail with reference to Figures 25 and 26. The portion of the housing that houses the pan forms a base 3 of the U-shape, and the housing extends outward from that base in two extensions 5, 7. One extension 5 of the housing houses a tower 301 including a height adjustable hand wash unit 303 described in more detail below with reference to Figures 36a to 42. The tower also provides storage. The other extension of the housing houses a static tower 401 including a toilet tissue dispenser 403 and a chute 405 to deposit refuse through into either a removable bin or sanitary unit (not shown) contained within a cupboard 407.

The toilet has a lid 13 that is split into two halves or lid parts 13a, 13b that are configured to slide sideways to open. The lid parts house cleaning jets and associated plumbing which provide water sprays to clean the pan during flushing.

Toilet pan (Fig 2 - 5)

The pan 15 is designed to be manufactured as a separate component and may be made from a suitable material such as glass carbonate or high impact polycarbonate type plastic material for example, so that if damaged can be replaced without having to replace the entire toilet. The pan has a cavity 15a for receipt of waste during a toileting procedure. The pan does not have an overhanging flushing rim like conventional toilets. In some forms, the pan may be made partially opaque to allow light to be transmitted through the pan. The pan is preferably moulded with a high gloss internal surface that is coated or impregnated with a non-stick finish.

At least a major part of the rear wall 17 of the pan is substantially vertical to reduce the target area for faecal soiling and to minimise the build up of adhesions (smearing).

The standing water pool (shown in Figure 12) is partly occluded by a rearward- facing ledge or partial shelf 19. A forward surface of the pan cavity extends downwardly and rearwardly, and terminates in the partial shelf. This shelf increases the "dry" target area for urination, to reduce the incidence of splash/tinkle generated by urinating into the pool. Additionally, fluid moving over the forward water control surface is spread so that it leaves the overhanging edge formed by shelf 19 in a low pressure water curtain, rather than funnelling into the standing water pool at a higher pressure. This reduces noise and back splash.

The exit aperture 21 of the pan is wide enough to allow normal faecal matter and tissue etc to be washed out but the reduced visual pool area discourages users from putting larger (non-flushable) objects down the pan i.e. sanitary pads, tampon applicators, etc.

The pan is relatively long in a forward and rearward direction. That provides a larger aperture for standing male urination to reduce the incidence of over spray. The shelf 19 preferably terminates toward the rear of the pan. A section 23 of the base of the pan forward of the rearwardly extending shelf 19 provides a target area inside the pan to reduce the incidence of unwanted noise or back splash generated from normally urinating or defecating directly into the water pool, enables users to examine faecal contents if required, and helps to reduce the level of urea and other odorous gases released as these are normally activated through contact with water.

A section 25 of the base of the pan and the shelf 19 are convex when viewed from above, and is designed to split a user's urine stream, dissipating it to reduce noise. That section 25 is also designed to split water flow applied to the pan during a cleaning operation to provide more effective cleaning of the area. Water can flow down upwardly open channels 27 formed on either side of the section 25 and shelf 19, and is directed around the back face of the outlet 21, converging above the water pool to form a column or jet which pushes the waste downwards into the throat of the outlet.

The waste oudet 29 beneath the shelf is designed with a standard size, such as about 100mm internal diameter so the pan can be plumbed to standard fittings if desired.

The narrower front section 31 of the pan is a 3-dimensional form that separates the more easily cleaned micturition area from the more heavily soiled rear of the pan. The deep nose cavity 33 is designed to provide clearance for male genitals (while sitting) and reduces the likelihood of backsplash. Additionally, the pan cavity shape concentrates the output from the cleaning sprays carried in the lid of the toilet into a stream that feeds the top of the water control surface.

Beneath the shelf 19, the pan is provided with an inlet port 35 for a flush or displacement volume, and is situated above the standing water pool, opposite the rear face of the oudet throat/pan wall, such that flow from the inlet port is partially deflected and contained by the overhanging shelf. The flushing arrangement will be described in more detail below. The inlet port 35 preferably has about a 22mm internal diameter to allow sufficient flow

rate and volume while minimising the amount of turbulent mixing at the interface (water surface 65 — see Figure 12).

Multi-stage cleaning/flushing

The toilet uses a preferred form multi-stage cleaning/ flushing system when the lids are closed to clean the seat portion and pan cavity, and remove waste from the toilet. Firstly, the seat portion and pan cavity of the toilet are cleaned, collecting waste material in the waste trap of the toilet. Following the cleaning stage, a waste flush ejects material from the waste trap over a water seal and delivers that to waste, and refills the sump with clean water for the next flush.

Stage one - pan clean (Fig 6, 7)

Figures 6 and 7 show the lid portions 13a, 13b in a closed configuration over the pan. The lid has an inner surface 13a', 13b' that is positioned over the pan in the closed configuration. The lid houses a cleaning mechanism configured to provide a cleaning operation of the pan following the toileting procedure and when the lid is in the closed configuration.

The lid houses arrays of three separate types of nozzles — first nozzles 41, second nozzles 42, and third nozzles 43. The nozzles are mounted inside each portion of the toilet lid 13. After the toilet has been used, the lid portions automatically close, compressing a flexible sensing element 13c to create a substantial seal between the lid portions.

The outer array of four or more, and preferably six spray nozzles 42 are configured to provide a wide angle generally flat fan-like spray, and are preferably controlled by a single solenoid. Those nozzles are used to initially clean the seat portion 51 and also part of the seat tray 53 that underlies and supports the seat portion. The seat portion 51 is removable but normally fixed, mounted above the seat tray 53 to provide an air and drainage gap 55 between the seat portion and seat tray. The uppermost surfaces of the seat portion are contoured and the uppermost surfaces of the seat tray and are inwardly downwardly angled

to allow fluid to drain off them, back down into the cavity 15a of the pan 15. An upstand 57 around the peripheral edge of the seat tray cooperates with a lip 59 on the lid portions 13a, 13b to prevent or minimise liquid egress. Preferably, however, air may flow between the upstand and the lip as required by the contaminated mist extraction system described 5 below.

The fluid sprayed from the second nozzles 42 may, for example, comprise water mixed with a disinfectant, and strikes the exposed uppermost surfaces of the seat portion and seat tray at a acute angle, cleaning off contaminants and rinsing these down into the pan cavity. 0 Concurrently, or shortly thereafter, the inner array of nominally two, third nozzles 43 configured to create a medium angle, hollow cone, spray the inner surface of the pan cavity to saturate and wet down any tissue paper, exposing the pan cavity sides for cleaning. The intermediate array of at least six preferred form first spray nozzles 41 which can be independently controlled to target specific heavily soiled areas of the pan surface, produce a 5 high velocity, concentrated fan spray that can be configured to either sweep laterally across the pan surface in a forward and/or rearward direction of the cavity of the pan with a generally horizontal sweeping movement, and/or sweep vertically up and/or down die pan cavity surface with a generally vertical sweeping movement and with sufficiendy high pressure and flow rate to clean the pan cavity sides of contaminants from a toileting 0 procedure; washing these down into the base of the pan cavity where the combined water *■ '■ flow cooperates with the pan water control surface 25 and channels 27 to deliver down and : out through the exit aperture 21 and collect it in the waste oudet 29. The nozzles 41 are preferably configured to provide a sweeping action of fluid from an upper portion of die cavity of die pan to a lower portion of die cavity of die pan. One suitable form of nozzle 5 for use in die intermediate array is described below with reference to Figures 8 - 1 Ib.

Coanda nozzle (Fig 8 - lib)

Each nozzle 41 is an assembly of components. A fluid inlet 52 is preferably rotatably 0 captured by a top plate 48 and a bottom plate 49 configured to provide a fluid passage 52a connecting die fluid inlet 52 and die fluid oudet 60 from which the fluid spray is ejected. The fluid oudet 60 preferably forms a rectangular orifice when viewed from die oudet end

but can also be circular or ovular in shape for example. A pivotable divider 50 located at least substantially within the fluid outlet is freely pivotable; the position of the divider is determined by flow through the nozzle, wherein the nozzle is adapted to provide a sweeping action of the spray 44; which spray has a relatively flat wide angle fan-like shape in one dimension as shown in Figure 8 and a relatively narrow spray in another dimension as shown in Figures 1 Ia — 1 Ib for at least a major part of the sweeping action. Projections 50' extending from either side of the divider 50 are received in recesses to provide the pivoted mounting of the divider.

With reference to figure 11a, fluid flow annotated using the letter W within the fluid passage is forced through a narrowing neck 48a, 49a; this constriction creates back pressure so that some of the fluid flow is forced through an inlet 48b into and pressurizes a chamber 46 formed by a housing assembly 45 adjacent to the fluid passage. An armature 47, captured within a solenoid 45a, is acted upon by a helical spring 47a so that a seal 47b attached to the end of the armature, closes off an outlet 46a into a control inlet 48c connected to the fluid passage, preferably substantially radially relative to the fluid passage and diametrically opposite to an air inlet 49c from an air valve 54 mounted into the bottom plate. The air valve is normally held open by spring pressure on a ball bearing, leaving an air flow path through into the fluid passage.

The fluid flow being compressed through the neck in the passage accelerates, causing the fluid pressure to drop, creating a venturi effect that sucks air in through the air valve 54. The fluid passage widens as the flow leaves the neck, creating a small step 48d adjacent to the control inlet 48c and another small step 49b adjacent to the air inlet 49c.

In the configuration shown in Figure 11a wherein the outlet 46a is closed and the air valve 54 is open, fluid flow leaving the outlet will entrain air from the surrounding atmosphere shown annotated with the letter A. Because air cannot be pulled in from the side of the control inlet 48c, a small flow vortex shown with the letter Vl will form behind the step 48d which, due to the Coanda effect, will cause the fluid flow to substantially adhere to the control surface 48e; pulling the pivotable divider 50 out of its normal position which is

axially aligned with the fluid flow, over to this side to produce a flat wide angled fan-like spray 44a.

In the configuration shown in Figure lib when the solenoid coil 56 is energized, the armature retracts against the spring, opening the outlet 46a. The sudden release of pressurized fluid through the control inlet 48c is enough to momentarily close the air valve and destroy the vortex formed behind step 48d; allowing die fluid flow to centralize and then because air cannot be pulled in from the side of the control inlet 49c, a small vortex V2 will form behind the step 49b, keeping the air valve closed and causing the fluid flow to substantially adhere to the control surface 49d, pulling the pivoting divider over with it to produce a flat wide angled fan-like spray 44b.

Fluid will continue to be siphoned through the inlet 48b, chamber 46 and control inlet 48c keeping the flow to the side of control surface 49d until the coil is de-energized and the armature re-seals the outlet 46a. This will momentarily centralize the fluid flow and alignment of the pivoting divider, allowing the air valve to open and destroy the vortex behind step 49b; the vortex will then reform behind step 48d, pulling the fluid flow back to control surface 48e. It is therefore apparent that by repeating this process, it is possible to create a flat wide angled fan-like spray with a sweeping action.

The pivoting divider 50 has a tapered cross section as shown in Figures 9 - lib so that when the fluid flow is centralized, flow moving over the curved back edge, adheres to the both the top and underside, converging back into a uniform spray a short distance from the fluid outlet so that the divider does not produce a shadow in the spray action.

The first nozzles 41 preferably operate after the second nozzles 42. The third nozzles 43 preferably operate concurrently with, or immediately following, the second nozzles 42 and prior to the operation of the first nozzles 41.

The water flow created by the cleaning nozzles moves some of the waste material further along the waste oudet pipe, but the primary purpose of stage one is to clean the pan cavity surface.

It should be appreciated that the layout of the nozzles as shown in the schematic is not essential and the actual number of individual nozzles and dieir exact placement may be varied as desired. Individual control of each first nozzle 41 provides the flexibility to fire them together as a group, in sequence or in sub-groups i.e. starting at the front and working towards the back of the pan cavity or individually as required to target either hard to clean or heavily soiled areas of the pan surface. By operating the first nozzles 41 toward the front of the lid prior to the first nozzles toward the rear of the lid, waste is directed toward the rear of the pan and the waste oudet. In the first instance the first nozzles 41 (in conjunction with the other nozzle arrays) will follow a prescribed timed sequence proven to be effective at cleaning the seat and pan regardless of the extent of soiling; however all nozzles may be controlled by an intelligent sensing system that will assess the distribution and state of contamination in the pan, and then direct specific jets and use only as much water as necessary to clean the pan effectively and efficiendy, right up to and including the topmost edge of the pan cavity.

The cleaning system is preferably configured to clean the pan cavity and seat in a time of less than about 7 seconds, preferably using a maximum of about 1.5 litres of fluid, pumped at a nominal pressure of about 25 psi (sufficient to pass the prescribed "Sawdust clean" Standards test). Preferably, only the oudet and/or face of each nozzle are visible under the lid. As outlined below, the system is preferably provided with an accumulator and pump to provide a system pressure of between about 22 and about 28 psi.

The pressure and flow rate of the fluid from the first nozzles are sufficiendy high to remove at least a majority of contaminants from a toileting procedure from the surface of the pan.

Stage two - waste flush (Fig 12 - 13c)

Once the stage one pan clean has been completed, a 'dump flush' ejects waste material W contained in the waste trap 61 to waste (out over the weir) and refills the waste trap sump 63 with clean water. Following the stage one pan clean, there is a pause in the flush cycle of at least about 3.5 seconds. This allows the saturated waste material W to setde down

into the sump 63 resting mostly below the standing fluid pool level 65 and partially plugging the trap inlet neck 67.

A comparatively small volume of flushing fluid such as water (such as a maximum of about 3.5 litres for example) is then delivered through the fluid inlet 35 above the standing fluid pool level at a relatively low pressure and a relatively high flow rate, to form a displacement volume of fluid that increases until a particular mass of fluid is reached, following which the fluid volume pushes the waste out of the waste trap. The flushing fluid would typically be delivered at a pressure of between about 0.25 and about 0.6 psi, depending at which point in the cycle it is measured. That is, the pressure at the start of the flush cycle will generally be higher than the pressure at the end of the flush cycle, as the volume in the header tank decreases. The flushing fluid would, however, be delivered at a relatively high flow rate, in a short space of time (such as less than about 5 seconds giving a flow rate of at least about 0.7 litres per second) into the waste trap 61, introducing it through a tapering inlet generally parallel to (i.e. substantially horizontally) and slightly above the resting fluid pool surface. The preferred internal diameter of the inlet 35 is approximately 22mm, tapered down from the 40mm internal diameter flush pipe 69. The volume and/or pressure of the flushing fluid could be increased to provide a higher flow rate.

The mass of fluid required before it moves through the waste trap is dependent on the diameter of the pipe, the mass and volume of waste, and where the waste is sitting in the pipe.

The partial shelf 19 above the fluid pool helps to deflect the flow downwards and contain it within the throat of the pan outlet 29; however it will be appreciated that the flushing fluid level 66 may rise above the shelf 19 to some extent as shown. The trap 61 has an opening with an internal diameter of about 100mm but the inlet neck 67 is offset diametrically underneath the dump flush inlet 35, and is reduced down to about 80mm to constrict flow. The connecting surface between them forms a ramp or shelf 71.

The flow F from the dump flush inlet 35 is aimed directly at the opposing wall of the pan 15 so it is split and forced to fold back at least partly on itself. Because of the high inlet

flow rate and the constriction formed by the diameter changes in the trap 61, the flush volume builds up into a column of water above the trap inlet neck 67. This is to deliberately reduce turbulent intermixing of the flow at the interface with the water pool so that the build up of water above the trap inlet neck 67 acts Like a plunger or push rod and the weight of the water (ie up to about 1.5 kilograms) displaces the waste trap 61 contents in a controlled manner without turbulent intermixing, effectively pushing it out and leaving clean water behind.

In conventional systems, the velocity of the flush volume entering the water pool can be so high that it simply cuts through the water pool without necessarily carrying the waste with it, producing a turbulent flow that is much less efficient and requires a greater flush volume to displace the trap contents.

With a column of water stacked above it, the shelf or ramp 71 in the trap 61 accelerates the water flow as it moves through the transition. This creates a partial venturi effect, accelerating the flow closest to the upper inside wall 63a of the trap 63. This increase in speed helps equalise flow pressure within the outlet pipe 73 so that any material floating in what is normally the higher pressure, slower flow zone closest to the upper inside wall, is captured and not simply bypassed (as can happen with conventional systems)

The toilet is preferably configured such that an amount, such as about 1.5 litres, of grey water stored from an earlier hand wash cycle is used in a first part of the waste flush cycle. This is used instead of clean water that would otherwise effectively be wasted in the first few seconds of the flush cycle as it is heavily contaminated through contact with the waste contents. However, as the waste transitions through the outlet pipe 73 and due to the reduced turbulence in the present system, this contamination is reduced so therefore less clean water is required to complete the flush cycle and refill the sump 63 significantly reducing the overall consumption of clean water in the present system.

The waste flush preferably requires about 3.5 litres of fluid or less to eject material from the trap over the water seal (to waste) and refill the sump, excluding any water used in the

laminar jet arrangement described below. The laminar jet arrangement may use about 100- 120 mis, depending on the duration of the jet burst.

Another advantage of the preferred form two stage approach is that it is possible to monitor and/ or sense what has gone into the pan and what has been deposited in the trap, and adapt the cleaning and/or flush cycles according to what has been deposited.

A small amount of faecal matter and/ or a single piece of tissue is as hard to flush out as a much larger mass. Due to normal centrifugal forces, water flow around the outside 63b of the trap bend 63 is faster and therefore at a lower pressure than flow closer to the upper inside wall. A small faecal lump has insufficient mass to be affected by normal flow so will either float in the trap chamber or sit on the bottom of the sump. If it is heavy enough to sit on the bottom then the lower pressure, higher flow will simply pass over it. If there is insufficient paper mass, it will not carry or capture the faecal matter as it moves through the outlet pipe. A small amount of paper by itself has substantially no mass, so will either float on the pool surface or within the trap chamber and is not easily captured in a standard flush.

The waste trap is preferably configured with an auxiliary laminar jet arrangement 81 that enables the flushing system to cope with such scenarios. In the preferred form, the laminar jet arrangement has three tapered pressure nozzles 81a, 81b, 81c (Figure 13c) each with an internal diameter of about 2.5mm, arranged to operate at a nominal working pressure of between about 20 and about 25 psi. The jets are set in a semi-circular array, generally co- radial with the outlet pipe 73 diameter but inclined such that the separate jet streams strike the oudet wall close to the centerline so that their out flows adhere to the curvature of the oudet wall 63b and do not produce reflective currents (caused by the circular cross section of the pipe) along the pipe length. Because the jets are very narrow, they cut through the standing water at a higher velocity, creating very little turbulence, combining when they strike the oudet wall at a near tangent angle to produce a higher speed laminar, narrow width flow along and over about a lower third of the bottommost internal wall of the oudet pipe. This is indicated by reference numeral 83 in Figure 13a, and is preferably over about a

lower third of the lower half (that is, about the lower sixth) of a circumference of the base of the waste trap.

This flow moves at a much higher flow rate than the displacement flush so can be used for three purposes. Firstly, the laminar jet arrangement can be operated momentarily at the start of a cycle prior to movement of the displacement flow through the waste trap to lift waste material sitting in the bottom of the sump 63 off the bottom and deflect the debris up into the centre of the tubular flow where the displacement volume can more easily capture the debris to be ejected. Secondly, the higher speed flow along the bottom centerline of the outlet pipe also creates eddy currents in the tubular water flow that "suck" the slower moving displacement volume above it down towards the high speed flow. This venturi effect assists in pulling lightweight particles or tissue paper'off the roof of the waste trap sump 63 down into the centre of the tubular flow where the displacement volume can capture them to be discharged. Finally, at the end of the waste flush cycle when the flow rate and displacement volume is tapering off, the laminar jet arrangement 81 can be operated to provide a short boost in both volume and flow rate, to assist in ejecting waste matter from the waste trap, and so any material in the outlet pipe 73 is discharged over the outlet weir with sufficient follow on flow to carry it to waste.

The timing of when, and for how long, these jets are fired is controlled. The key to the efficiency of the waste flush is reducing turbulent flow so that the waste plug can be acted on uniformly. Firing the laminar jet arrangement during the displacement cycle creates turbulent flow so is counterproductive. Therefore, the laminar jet arrangement is preferably fired either just before the flush volume is introduced, or at the end when the flush volume and flow rate are tapering off. Otherwise, the turbulent flow produced would disrupt the laminar flow through the outlet pipe 73 breaking waste material into smaller pieces, which makes them much harder to act upon and discharge to waste.

The laminar jets could be used in toilets that otherwise have different types of flushing systems.

Outlet pipe (Fig 14a, 14b)

The outlet pipe 73 after the sump bend 63 in the trap 61 is inclined at a nominal angle of about 45° to the horώontal. This is (due to resultant forces) to reduce the flow rate and water pressure required to displace the trap contents in a given time, the vertical height from the lowest point in the trap 61 to the highest point in the water level as it transitions over the outlet weir 73a in the flush cycle.

The ramp angle is important in the preferred form system. The steeper the ramp angle and therefore the more acute the radial arc in each bend, the more turbulent the water flow becomes, increasing the resistance to laminar flow. Each internal corner in a pipe introduces a flow shadow after it, which affects the pressure and flow characteristics within the pipe. Because the flush volume contains waste materials of different density and material properties, they rise and fall (float or sink) depending on the pressure within the tubular flow; so it is important in a low pressure system to minimise this. The effective ramp angle i.e. the path/tangent angle a body may take from just below the depth of the water seal 68, to the lowest point it can cross the outlet weir 73a in the preferred form is between about 25° and about 40°, more preferably about 30° or less. This is indicated by reference numeral 70 in Figure 14b.

Odour and contaminated mist extraction system (Fig 15 - 18)

During normal use of the toilet when the sliding lid parts are open, gas (air) is extracted from the pan cavity at a first flow rate using a centrifugal fan extraction system 91 and is discharged to waste through an exhaust port 74 in the outlet tube 73 at a point beyond the water seal (see Figure 14a, 14b).

The pan has a volumetric capacity of about 0.0135 m 3 , and to capture general fumes and odours air is preferably extracted from within the pan cavity at the rate of approximately 1.95 m 3 per minute, equivalent to effectively replacing the total air volume within the pan, about 2.4 times every second. The system is preferably configured to extract an amount of gas from the pan equivalent to at least twice an internal volume of the pan, each second.

The system is configured such that during the cleaning and flushing cycle, when the toilet lid parts 13a, 13b close over the pan 15 to seal off the pan cavity 15a, and for a short time thereafter, the fan speed is increased to extract air and contaminated mist (which comprises a mixture of gas and water vapour) at a second flow rate higher than the first flow rate, preferably at the rate of approximately 3 m 3 per minute. That is, the second flow rate is preferably greater than about 1.5 times the first flow rate, and is preferably sufficient to extract an amount of the contaminated mist from the pan equivalent to at least about three and a half times the internal volume of the pan, each second.

During the cleaning and flushing cycle, the lid jets 41, 43 pressurize the air volume in the pan cavity, creating a contaminated mist that coats any exposed surfaces and would otherwise be expelled into the air surrounding the toilet, coating any other adjacent surface; which is what happens with conventional toilets when flushed - the so called "toilet sneeze".

In the preferred form system, the volume of air being extracted is significantly increased during the cleaning and flushing cycle, to create negative pressure above the pan cavity so that clean air is drawn in from outside the pan, over the seat portion 51, the seat tray 53 and the undersides 13a', 13b' of the lid. A small gap in the order of 3 mm for example, is provided between the seat tray and lid, to enable air to be sucked into the pan by the extraction system. A seal may be provided, such as an overlapping seal or the like, to substantially contain water vapour within the pan during the flushing procedure. This airflow helps contain the contaminated mist within the pan cavity and therefore helps to prevent the mist from coating these surfaces. The higher extraction rate increases the speed of the air moving within the pan cavity, enabling it to capture the contaminated mist and any other airborne particles more effectively and discharging them to waste. Any heavier particles collect on the angled ledge 95a of the extraction conduit 95 and are washed out as the mist condenses. Suction through the entire annular rim gap 93 ensures this occurs uniformly throughout.

The fan assembly 91 is mounted inside the main toilet housing 1. A 12 volt DC variable speed motor 97 is mounted underneath the volute fan housing 99. The motor shaft 97a

extends through a substantially water tight oil seal bearing 101 and is keyed to the preferably 110 mm diameter (approximately) backwards curved "squirrel cage" impellor 103. The normally open inlet aperture of the fan housing is capped with an inlet manifold 105, which is connected by a flexible tube 107 to the semi-rigid drainage channel 109 mounted under the frame 121. The multiple suction outlets 111 distributed around the conduit, such as the four suction outlets shown for example, extend down through the frame and connect into the drainage channel, forming an air tight seal.

The extraction conduit 95 extends around the entire internal periphery of the pan and air is drawn from within the pan 15, through an annular gap 93, into the conduit 95, then out of multiple suction outlets 111 distributed around the periphery of the conduit. The airflow is indicated by letter A in the figures. Multiple suction oudets enable the air to be removed substantially uniformly from within the whole pan cavity during the flushing cycle.

The drainage channel 109 is configured such that air is extracted from within the pan as required, with more air being extracted from the rear than the front of the pan. The channel and flexible tube 107 also have smooth internal walls to limit adhesions.

Rather than using separate components the ports and channels could be integrally moulded as part of the pan or seat tray for example.

Ak being sucked through the extraction system will be contaminated, so to reduce bacterial growth and the build up of hard deposits inside the fan housing 99 and on the impellor 103, a wide angle water spray jet 113 is mounted on the top of the inlet manifold 105 to periodically flush (possibly using a disinfectant solution) the interior surfaces, using the centrifugal action of the spinning impellor 103 to increase the water velocity to clean more effectively, and to wash out the exhaust pipe 115. The extraction conduit 95 and Unking components through into the fan housing may also be flushed periodically using water jets (not shown).

When not in use, a biased sealing flap 117 mounted inside the fan housing 99 works in conjunction with an anti-siphon valve (not shown) to prevent the ingress of sewer gases

through the fan assembly 91. The flap 117 is opened by the force of the air when in use, and deflects the air flow down and out the flexible exhaust pipe 115, through the exhaust port 74 to waste.

Seat portion (Fig 19 - 21)

The seat portion 51 does not lift up like a conventional toilet seat. It is normally fixed down (using any number of known techniques) onto the seat tray 53 which is directly fixed to a support frame 121 so that no load is transferred onto the pan 15. The seat portion 51 is offset from the seat tray surface 53 on lugs or posts 53a (Figure 21) to provide an air and drainage gap 55 between them, and is washed and dried during the flush cycle; but can be easily replaced or removed for periodic cleaning or as part of the service cycle.

The seat portion 51 can be manufactured in any number of ways and out of a number of different materials. One option has a rigid moulding 51a to support the weight of the user with a low density polymer skin 51b on the top side for comfort and warmth. The skin 51b could be a co-moulded or a separate component that is detachable either to sterilise or replace it if damaged, to change the Shore hardness (harder or softer) or to change colour, etc. The skin 51b or rigid moulding 51a may have gel pockets 51c and/or heating elements built in to provide greater comfort for the seated user. A capacitive sensor 52 to detect weight on and a user's proximity to the seat is sealed inside the rigid moulding by an inlay strip 51a'. Alternatively the sensor and or heating elements could be insert moulded into the seat as one component.

With reference to Figures 19 and 20, the rear section 51 d of the seat portion is cut away to provide an opening to improve access for wiping and anal cleansing. The gap and difference in levels between the seat and seat tray also prevents a vacuum seal being formed between the user and seat while the odour extraction system is running.

The wider and longer plan form of the seat also provides additional support and comfort for larger bottoms, and provides a more stable standing platform for squatting users.

The entire seat surface is preferably cleaned, disinfected and dried every flush cycle to remove any soiling.

Most of a person's weight is carried on contact points 51 e under the thighs so the seat portion has large substantially flat areas here to reduce point loading. The slightly narrower opening 51 fin the forward region in the plan form also allows for an amount of front to back adjustment so that a small child can still sit comfortably towards the front of the seat portion.

The seat portion aperture 51g is long front to back to provide a more open target for standing male users.

The front section or nose 51h of the seat portion is only about 50 mm deep (front to rear) to reduce the contact area exposed to urine dribble from standing males. Additionally, the nose of the seat portion arches up at the front and has a wall extending down into the pan to provide better splash protection and help, in conjunction with the upstand 57 on the seat tray, to contain the urine stream from seated users (in juveniles this can be horizontal so would normally spray out underneath the seat).

The continuous forward surface provides some support for users sitting with their legs almost together.

Seat drying system (Fig. 22 - 24, and 28)

As will be described below, both the seat and hand wash systems preferably use heated air for drying. With reference to Figure 28, in a preferred form of the present invention, a pair of 240 Volt AC electric air blowers 315a and 315b are mounted inside the main housing 1; each blower produces a high velocity cool airflow of about 4 cubic metres a minute. The air flow from 315a is piped directly to the air activated pivot open vent 122b; the airflow from the second blower 315b is diverted by an electromechanical gate 317 for either seat or hand drying. Thermostatically controlled heating coils 319, 321a and 321b mounted in the air lines heat the air up to a desired temperature, such as about 35° Celsius for example, just

prior to the seat drying air outlets 122a, 122b shown in the back of the seat tray 53 or the hand wash drying outlet 323. The air is blown from the seat drying air outlets 122a, 122b in a generally horizontal direction along the seat portion to substantially dry the seat portion 51 and seat tray 53 surface after cleaning. The outlets have flaps that are normally shut to prevent fluid ingress into the air supply and heating mechanism, but are forced open by and direct the airflow.

With reference to Figures 22, 23 and 24; airflow (denoted by the letter A) is forced into an air flow tunnel 123a,b formed by the cooperation of the uppermost surfaces of the seat 51 and the inner surfaces of each lid part 13a,b in the closed configuration, to constrain and force the air stream to move generally horizontally, in a laminar flow following the contour of the uppermost seat surface, from each rearmost end 51i,j of the seat portion towards the nose 51h where the two opposing air streams collide and are deflected back into the pan cavity through an aperture in the air flow tunnel wall (not shown).

The inner surface of each lid part has an open channel 123a,b formed in it which substantially matches the plan form and contour of the seat portion 51, uniformly offset from it preferably by not less than about 3 mm, but not more than about 7mm, in a vertical direction. Preferably the offset is between about 5 and about 6 mm. The inner side walls 125a,b and outer wall 127a,b of the channel extend down to overlap the outermost surfaces of the seat portion so that the gap left between them is preferably not more than about 1.5 mm at the closest point; this constriction creates a pressure curtain along the lower innermost edges of the air flow tunnel that allows the water to be expelled and some airflow out, but constrains the majority of the air stream into a laminar flow. In an alternative embodiment, there may be no gap around the outer edge of the tunnel. The air and water expelled through the gap 129a,b along the innermost edge falls /flows directly into the pan cavity; water and air expelled through the gap 131a,b along the outermost edge 131a,b falls/flows onto the surface of the seat tray 53.

The airflow to dry the seat is blown through air outlets 122a,b positioned in the seat tray 53 adjacent to each rearmost end 51i,j of the seat so that it is directed along the length of the seat portion 51. Each air outlet has an air operated sealing flap which opens and deflects

the air flow into the air flow tunnel. When closed the flap prevents fluid ingress into the air supply and heating mechanism. The form of the flap cooperates with the inside surface of the lid parts and rounded uppermost face 51k of the rear ends of the seat portion to funnel the air flow into the narrowing air flow tunnel, compressing the volume of ait and thereby increasing its velocity.

Because the air gap between die seat surface and the inner surface of the channel in the lid part is consistent, the air pressure and velocity within the air flow tunnel is also relatively consistent ensuring even drying of the surface. The seat width narrows towards the nose at the front though which helps to maintain the velocity of the air flow as resistance due to surface friction over the length of the air flow tunnel begins to slow the airflow down. The air is also moving in a single direction, collecting water as it goes, so die momentum and mass of the moving water builds, colliding and dislodging fluid droplets on the seat surface in front of it, represented by the letter W in Figure 24.

Ak movement through the tunnel(s) warms the seat portion and lid surfaces through advection, helping to evaporate any remaining water residue.

Widi reference to Figure 23, a roller bearing 130 mounted to each Hd part 13a, 13b, travels along a guide path 53b in the seat tray 53. A cam form 53c in the guide path, tilts/pivots each lid part, lifting the inner abutting faces upwards so that the innermost edge of the air flow tunnel wall 125 will clear the seat portion 51 as the lid parts move between an open and closed configuration. Reference numeral 13' references die lid in the tilted position, with the lid shown in phantom lines.

Sliding lid system (Fig. 25 - 27)

The lid parts 13a, 13b preferably open automatically as a user approaches, and dien close after the user has finished toileting to initiate the cleaning and flush system. The lid parts are moveable between a closed configuration in which they are in a generally horizontal orientation and cover the pan and the seat portion (as shown in Figure 25), and an open configuration in which they are in a generally horizontal orientation and are spaced apart

and positioned outwardly from the closed configuration (as shown by phantom lines in Figure 25), via a substantially horizontal movement.

The toilet has a forward direction F corresponding to a normal forward oriented seated or squatting position of a user over the pan. Preferably, the lid parts when in the opened configuration shown in phantom lines are positioned at least somewhat rearwardly from the closed configuration. The lid parts preferably move in a generally arcuate movement, as they move between the closed and open configurations. Such a configuration helps to provide a maximal opening to the front while minimising the overall width of the toilet. The movement of the lid parts is preferably driven by an electro-mechanical device 132 shown in detail in Figure 27 and referred to below as a lid actuator.

As the lid halves 13a, 13b open and close, they pass through a slot in the side of a top cover or covers 133a, 133b. When the lid is closed this slot is filled by a sprung pivoting flap 135 which closes off the potential finger and dirt trap. When the lid is open, the inner faces of the lid parts close off this slot and the flaps 135 fold back inside the main housing 1.

Operation

When the control system detects a user within a field defined between the static tower 401 and the retractable tower 301 it opens the lid parts, preferably in about 2 seconds or less, varying the opening speed in a controlled manner. Once the electronic logic systems have determined the user has left the toileting area (or manually operated a 'dose' button), the system closes the lid parts in a controlled manner, preferably in about 3 seconds or less, varying the speed so that the final moments of closing will appear slow and soft, until the lids close fully to provide a water tight seal whilst pan cleaning and flushing takes place. The lids do not lock but if they are manually opened at any time, the cleaning and flushing cycle halts, then restarts when the lids are closed fully. The control system then resets itself, ready to repeat the cycle.

Referring to Figure 27, each lid half 13a, 13b is fitted with sensors to detect obstacles during opening and closing. The inner abutting faces 13d are fitted with contact sensors which may comprise part of the overlapping seal 13c shown in Figure 7 to detect direct pressure (such as a finger being trapped) when closing. The outer edge faces 13e have imbedded sensors (most likely capacitive) which sense through the side wall to detect obstacles or objects in the way when opening. If the lid sensing systems detect an obstacle during opening or closing, the lid parts will automatically stop moving and return to their starting position. This will happen two times and if the obstacle is not removed, the third attempt to open or close will result in the lids stopping at the obstacle and sounding an alarm which requires the system to be manually reset. For redundancy, if the lid parts encounter resistance either on opening or closing, which has not been detected by the lid sensors, a feedback loop detecting motor current will stall the drive motor to avoid both damaging the mechanical system and accidental injury to users. Manual override controls are provided to either open or close the lid on demand.

The lid actuator 132 is an assembly of components. Each lid part 13a, 13b is pivotally attached to a hinge plate 137, which is adjustably fastened to a pivot arm 139 that mounts onto a roller carriage 141. Each roller carriage 141 has a set of, say, four roller bearings 143 that engage with high density plastic guide runners 145. The guide runners 145 are mounted inside a carriage frame 147 and set the Hd path.

The carriage frame has a machined plate 149 fixed centrally on the inside face, onto which a drive mechanism such as a 12 volt DC reversible and variable speed electric drive motor 151 is mounted. The motor drives an endless drive linkage which is preferably a rubberised ribbed belt 153 through a series of pulleys and toothed wheels 155. Each roller carriage 141 is attached to the ribbed belt 153 by a clamp 157. One roller carriage 141 mounts to the foremost straight section of the ribbed belt 155 and the other roller carriage 141 mounts to the rearmost straight section of the ribbed belt 155 so that movement of the belt in any one direction creates a reciprocal action. When closed, the roller carriages 141 are locked in position by a solenoid bolt 159. The speed and extent of the carriage travel is determined by limit switches and sensing controls (not shown).

The separate top covers 133a, 133b are pivotally connected to the main toilet housing 1, and can lift up to the position shown in phantom lines in Figure 26. Alternatively they could be simply lifted off. When the top covers are in the lifted position, and the lid parts 13a, 13b are in the open configuration, the lid parts 13a, 13b can be pivoted upward in the direction of the arrow shown in Figure 27, to enable the underside of the lid parts 13a, 13b and components inside the main housing 1 to be serviced and/or cleaned periodically. As an alternative, the lid parts 13a, 13b may be fully removable when in the open configuration. The separate top covers 133a, 133b could also be a single cover.

A service button (not shown) may be provided to disable the normal control systems, unlock the top covers 133a, 133b and allow them to be opened. That will allow the lid parts 13a, 13b to be slid apart and then either manually hinged up or physically disconnected from the pivot arm, to clean them.

An interlock (not shown) between the lid parts 13a, 13b and the carriage frame 147 prevents the lid parts 13a, 13b them from being hinged up during normal use.

Plumbing - Water Storage & Delivery (Fig 28, 29)

Figure 29 shows a plumbing schematic for the preferred form toilet system. The system is plumbed to a standard cold water mains supply connection IN. The incoming water passes through a service valve 161 and an in-line filter 163 to remove debris before filling two vented water storage reservoirs 165, 167 through standard float valves 169, 171. The primary water tank 165 and the secondary water tank 167 are mounted one each side of the pan 15 as shown in phantom lines in Figure 28 and have a capacity of about 10.5 litres each; sufficient to provide up to three full flush cycles in the event of the mains water supply failing. Each tank is connected to an overflow conduit 172 which discharges into the flush pipe 69 to prevent the tanks from overfilling.

The outlet pipe from the primary tank 167 branches out to supply water flow to two 12 Volt DC electric water pumps 185, 201. A sensor 181 mounted either in the primary tank

167 or the outlet pipe leading from it, controls the electric pumps and monitors the water supply level to prevent the pumps running dry.

The main pump 185 is fitted with a non-return valve 183 on the inlet side and provides a maximum flow rate of about 18 litres/minute at about 40 psi. This can be combined with an accumulator tank 187 to provide a generally constant water supply pressure between about 22 and about 28 psi, depending on the outlet demand. The cleaning nozzles are preferably provided with a minimum supply pressure of about 22 psi.

Flow out of the primary pump 185 recharges the accumulator tank 187, supplies the laminar jet arrangement 81 controlled by the solenoid valve 189, the lid parts 13a, 13b, and any other ancillary high pressure water jets such as the odour extraction fan water jet 113 which is not shown in the schematic.

A separate disinfectant/cleaning solution reservoir tank 193 is mounted so that water flow through the supply line to the lid parts 13a, 13b automatically draws this in (through a nonreturn valve) and mixes the solution to a desired concentration before branching into flexible connections, into manifolds in each half of the sliding lid actuator 132. Within each lid part 13a, 13b the operation of individual spray heads 195 (which may be any of the spray nozzles shown in Figures 6 and 7) or the spray arrays 197 (which may be any of the arrays of spray nozzles shown in Figures 6 and 7) is controlled by multiple 12 Volt DC electromechanical solenoid valves S to clean and wash the toilet seat portion and pan as described above.

The secondary pump 201 provides the cold water supply for the hand wash unit 303 preferably at less than about 1 bar pressure and at a maximum flow rate of about 11 litres/minute, regulated by the flow control valve 203 down to about 1.8 to about 2 litres/minute. The primary flow is split equally between two branches; the first through a secondary flow control 205 to regulate the mix water temperature (depending on the incoming cold water temperature) and a non-return valve 207 to prevent back flow; the second through a non-return valve 209 to the hot water tank 211 and the thermostatically controlled 240 Volt electric heating unit 213. This is set to maintain a constant

temperature of at least about 69°C to prevent the growth of Legionnella bacteria within the stored water. The hot water tank 211 is vented back through hot water outlet 215 into the outlet pipe where the hot and cold water supplies mix to produce the about 40±2°C temperate water ideal for hand washing.

This water flow is then controlled by two solenoid valves 217, 219 which are normally open when the hand wash unit 303 is not in use so that any water in the supply lines feeding the hand wash upper 305 and lower nozzles sets 307 (described in more detail below) drains out into the hand wash waste line 221 and empties into the grey water storage tank 173 rather than spurting out of the jets on start up.

When a hand wash cycle is started, the hand wash valve 217 closes to divert the water flow to waste until the mix temperature comes up to about 40+2° C (preferably within about 2 to 3 seconds). The divert valve 219 then closes and the hand wash valve 217 opens to divert the temperate water flow to the hand wash nozzles so that it always comes out of the nozzles 305, 307 at a warmed temperature and to prevent a "cold shock" on start up. The waste water from the hand wash cycle drains through the waste line 221 into the grey water storage tank 173 to be recycled in the toilet flush.

The use of grey water in the flush cycle is a notable ecological feature of the preferred form toilet as it reduces the amount of clean water needed to flush each time. Grey water can only be stored safely for up to 12 hours, so the control system is configured to discharge the contents of the tank to waste if it is not used in a flush cycle within this time.

In a waste flush cycle, the dump valve 191 opens to discharge the contents of the grey water tank 173 into the flush pipe 69 through the dump flush inlet 35 so that this water is used to initially replace the black water in the waste trap 61. As the tank 173 empties, clean water from the secondary water tank 165 is drawn into the grey water tank 173 through a siphon tube 179 to complete the dump flush and refill the waste trap 61 with clean water as described.

Important to the system's flushing performance is the relatively small volume of water being discharged at low pressure (only about 200mm of head maximum) but at a high flow rate directly in to the waste trap in the waste flush cycle. The valve 191 controlling the delivery of flushing fluid needs to provide a high unimpeded flow rate at a low pressure with a quick on/off activation requiring little mechanical force in an electronically controlled 12 Volt DC system. A suitable valve is shown in Figures 30 to 32, although it will be appreciated that a different type of valve could be used if desired.

A single device with all these features though would have potential to be used in a wider range of general plumbing applications. The dump valve shown in Figures 30 to 32 is one embodiment of this concept based on the operation of an iris valve. An iris valve has the benefits of being self sealing, providing a straight through unimpeded flow when open and can being drivable by a simple mechanical device.

Dump valve (Fig 30-32)

The dump valve 191 is used to control the discharge of the water from the storage tanks 165, 171 as described during the waste flush cycle, but has potential to be used either in its entirety or with minor modifications for the following applications: 1. Control Valve; to provide unimpeded high volume, low pressure, on/off control of water flow.

2. Automatic Toilet Flush Valve; as a retro-fit device to replace manual flush valves, fitted into standard toilet flush pipes. The device could be triggered remotely via proximity sensor for automatic flushing or via a switch for user to select flush volume (full/half flush).

3. Flow Control Valve; as above but the device also senses or calculates the volume of fluid that has passed through the valve. This is required as part of the dump valve for the toilet and in retro-fit toilet applications so that different flush volumes can be selected. However, this may be an application with its own merit so that the device can be used in fluid control and delivery systems. In its basic form (appropriate for the toilets) the flow can be calculated from pipe size and pressure of head of water above valve or simply measured and set using an adjustable timer.

4. Plug Replacement; to replace a conventional mechanical lift up sink or basin/bath plug with an electronically controlled, no touch unit, opened and closed valve via a switch.

The dump valve 191 is designed to be fitted into existing pipe work or under sinks and basins etc. as well as into the preferred form toilet, so preferably has a standard 40 mm diameter threaded female swiveling socket connector 231 on the inlet end and a standard 40 mm diameter male thread on the outlet end 232. A filter 233 catches objects accidentally dropped into the valve and can be removed for cleaning. The top collar 235 secures the socket connector 231 and screws into the main body 249 clamping the upper end of the iris tube 237 against the wall of the main body 249 to create static water tight seal. ;;

The other end of the iris tube 237 is similarly clamped between the sliding collar 241 and the sealing collar 243 which screws into it. The sealing collar 243 has an annular groove to accept a piston type sliding seal 245 to provide a water tight seal between it and the main body 249. The sliding collar 241 fits inside a drive ring 239 which is captured by the main body 249. An interlock 265 between the drive ring 239 and the sliding collar 241 allows the centre portion of the iris tube 237 to be twisted closed as the drive ring 239 rotates, rotating the sliding collar but allowing it to slide up within the drive ring 239 at the same time against the force of the return spring 247, as the iris tube 237 shortens.

A high speed, reversible 12 Volt DC electric motor 259 drives a worm gear 261 through a conical spur gear assembly 263, to rotate a planetary gear box to turn the drive ring 239 about 1.5 revolutions to fully open and close the iris tube 237. The motor 259 drives the gear train in both directions. The braking force within the motor and the 'step-downs' in the gear train provide enough friction in the system to hold the valve either normally open or closed without using any power, thereby removing the need for a separate brake and greatly simplifying the mechanism.

A PCB 267, PLC, or similar controls the motor 259 in conjunction with a limit switch linked to the revolution of the annular ring 253. At least three planetary spur gears 257

captured inside the main body 249 on precision axles 251 keep the annular ring 253 running true and step the drive down to the drive ring 239.

Iris valve (Fig 33a - 35)

An important component of the dump valve 191 is the iris tube 237 shown in more detail in Figures 33a to 35. This is preferably a one piece flexible polymer moulding which is held static at one end and rotated at the other end. As one end rotates, the tube naturally collapses into a series of helical folds which stretch and tighten around themselves, causing the tube to shorten in overall length as the si2e of the clear opening inside the tube reduces until it is completely occluded by the folds in the material and the tube is effectively closed.

In this preferred form, the iris tube 237 is moulded with a varying cross section designed to improve the performance of the valve.

The tube 237 has cushions 237a which are compressible but spring back to their original shape. These could be made up of a less dense material or air pockets moulded into the tube. The cushions 237a resist the twisting motion and have a leading and trailing edge which are orientated depending on the direction of rotation and dictate where the tube folds, as the bottom ring 237c is rotated. The number of cushions determines the number of folds.

The vertical cushions are asymmetric about the horizontal axis and vary in cross section down the length of the tube. The top portions 237b of the cushions are relatively thick, and the cushions taper as they extend down the tube. The cushions taper out below the mid point of the tube, and the lower end 237c of the tube does not have integral cushions, but rather has a relatively constant wall thickness. This is because the top portion of the tube above the seal has to resist the force of the water when the valve is closed so the vertical cushions allow the tube to stretch while still providing extra stiffness and strength laterally to prevent the tube from bulging, or to at least minimise bulging. The lower end 237c of the tube is able to stretch and twist freely as the weight of the water is held above the overlapping section of the twisted tube.

The cushions 237a are designed to create more pressure in the centre of the tube when the tube is closed and twisted and their size and shape are important at this region. If the cushions are too large they may prevent the seal from closing fully, if the cushions are too small they may not be effective.

When the tube is closed as shown in Figure 33c, the folds formed by the cushions 237a lie generally flat against each other; the cushions provide extra force on the folds in the material to squeeze the material more tightly together and reduce the number of revolutions required to tighten the folds sufficiently to produce a water tight seal at higher pressures.

Hand wash unit (Fig 36a - 41)

Washing your hands after toileting is an integral part of the toileting process and essential for hygienic reasons but is poorly integrated in a typical bathroom environment so contributes, along with a lack of education and general misunderstanding of the risks associated with poor hygiene, towards low hand washing rates; especially among men because it is often perceived as unnecessary, inconvenient or uncomfortable to use and/or simply too time consuming to carry out.

Awareness of the risks of bacterial cross infection from touching contaminated surfaces in the bathroom/toilet environment is increasing but this still does not stop most people from rearranging and therefore contaminating their clothes after toileting before washing their hands.

The hand wash unit 303 of the preferred form toilet is preferably integrated into the toilet housing 1, and enables a person still sitting on the toilet or standing in front of it, to comfortably and effectively wash and dry their hands at any time and therefore encourage more hygienic practices. The ergonomic requirements for a sitting user are different to those of a standing user so, to overcome this, the hand wash has several unique features including nozzles 305, 307 configured to provide split level water sprays over a basin 309 that is substantially open from above, and a support or tower 311 that is configured to

move up and down vertically (controlled automatically by the logic system) to adjust to the position of the user.

It is more comfortable and natural for a seated user (2a shown in Figure 36a) to hold their hands palm down over the basin whereas a standing user (2b shown in Figure 36b) would cup their hands, palm up. The split level water spray enables the user to rinse both sides of their hands at the same time.

The basin shape 309, water sprays, a soap dispensing system, a hot air drying apparatus, and tower height adjustment are designed to cope with the different ergonomic requirements of the two different user positions.

The unit 303 is designed primarily for washing a user's hands after toileting so operates automatically in a logical and intuitive "best practice" sequence of timed events to make it more hygienic and ergonomic to use, as well as reducing water usage. Control over the timing for pre-wetting a user's hands, dispensing and lathering with soap, then rinsing and drying the user's hands in an "end to end" cycle (that once started cannot be stopped or interrupted by the user) simplifies the process and enables the unit to be physically smaller without compromising its effectiveness. This does not preclude individual control of these elements however. The ergonomics are unique in that the user does not cup their hands underneath a tap, but places their hands above a shallow basin 309 where they are detected by a non contact sensor (not shown) to initiate the hand wash cycle.

The preferred hand wash features are as follows:

The hand wash uses a total of about 500ml of water per cycle, dispensed at the flow rate of about 1.8 to about 2 litres per minute (enough to effectively clean hands only) and the grey waste water is recycled in the initial stages of the dump flush to reduce overall clean water consumption. To encourage better hand washing practices, a visual indicator and/or audible signal will prompt users at certain times in the toileting sequence to wash their hands i.e. if the user is standing, when fluid flow detected within the pan stops. The hand wash tower can move up or down, automatically controlled by the logic systems, to be at

the correct ergonomic height for the user whether the user is in a seated or standing position - it is important for the seated user that the hand wash unit is low enough to prevent water running back down the user's forearms while rinsing; whereas the standing user needs it high enough to not have to stoop to use it. The hand wash unit may be adapted to automatically adjust between its maximum and minimum height, with no interim adjustment. Alternatively, the hand wash unit may additionally be adapted to adjust for the height of a standing user.

The difference in basin height between the lowered seated user position and the raised standing user position is preferably about 150 mm.

The hand wash unit is provided forward and to the side of the pan such that the hand wash unit can be reached by an adult user of the toilet when the user is in a normal forward oriented seated or squatting position over the pan.

The hand wash unit is preferably adapted to increase in height if a seated toilet user stands up following a toileting procedure without first washing their hands.

The unit is preferably a symmetrical design to enable it to be mounted on either the left or right side of the main housing 1. Alternatively, the hand wash unit may be a stand alone apparatus.

Each of cycle phases (pre-wet, soap, then rinse and dry) could be highlighted by an indicator at the outlet or on a display panel to guide the user through the process and indicate where they should place their hands.

Hand washing and drying cycle (Fig 28, 39 - 41)

The preferred form hand wash unit is preferably fully automated, to apply a cleaning product, rinse, and dry a user's hands, without the user having to physically contact the hand wash unit.

In a first step, a visual (and possibly audible) signal confirms that a user's hands have been detected by a sensor and the cycle is starting before water sprays from the upper and lower nozzle sets 305, 307 to produce a curtain of low pressure intersecting jet streams to efficiently pre-wet a user's hands before soaping. This water is set at a temperature of about 40° C and the system is designed to provide this almost immediately for a more enjoyable hand washing experience (no cold water shock).

The low pressure sprays use less water, minimize back splash and bounce off the hands so the total flow is easily contained within the basin 309 and is discharged through the running outlet and removable internal strainer or filter 314 into the grey water waste line 221. The outlet is also positioned off centre so that water movement within the basin creates a self cleaning action.

After pre-wetting, a controlled shot of either viscous liquid or foamed soap is automatically dispensed from a soap outlet 313 visible from both the seated and/or standing positions, downwards toward the centre of the basin to enable the soap to be collected in cupped hands and ensure it is contained within the basin.

The soap is drawn from a refillable container stored underneath the hand wash unit, and may have a visual alert to indicate when the soap level is getting low.

The user is then given time to lather their hands before the water jets start again to rinse off the soap. This is followed by another short pause to shake off excess water before hand drying.

Hand drying is an integral part of the hand washing process; 1,000 times as many germs spread from damp hands than dry hands. One of the factors contributing to low hand washing rates is the amount of time it takes, so this along with hygiene, are important considerations when choosing hand drying systems. No one solution solves all the problems so this system is designed to be modular to offer a number of different options; hot air hand drying or disposable paper towels (which might be flushable) depending on the user environment Le. in public washrooms, healthcare, nursing homes, and institutions

etc. replaceable washable towel rolls, disposable paper towels or hot air drying would all be acceptable methods; in a domestic or hotel environment other factors including noise in use, service and consumables cost and or perceived quality influence this decision.

Single use, disposable paper towels are a simpler and quicker drying method, removing 96% of the water from the subject's hands in ten seconds of drying (whereas it typically takes 45 seconds of hot air drying to achieve the same end point) but produce significant amounts of waste paper to be stored and then disposed of.

A disadvantage of hot air hand drying in existing toilet rooms is that they re-circulate and accumulate faecal pathogens from air in the room, simply re-contaminating the user's hands with bacteria during drying. However the preferred form lid closed cleaning and air extraction system eliminates this problem so it is possible to safely use hot air hand drying as it reduces paper waste. Further developments of this system will look to recycle and "clean" the hot air for energy efficiency and hygiene control.

With reference to Figure 28, in a preferred form of the present invention, a pair of 240 Volt AC electric air blowers 315a and 315b are mounted inside the main housing 1; each blower produces a high velocity cool airflow of about 4 cubic metres a minute. The air flow from the second blower 315b is diverted by an electromechanical gate 317 for either seat or hand drying. A thermostatically controlled heating coil 319 mounted in the air line heats the air up to a desired temperature of about 35° Celsius for example, just prior to the hand wash drying outlet 323. The outlet has a flap 325 that is normally shut to prevent fluid ingress into the air supply and heating mechanism, but is forced open by and directs the airflow.

The hand wash outlet 323 as shown in Figure 41 directs air flow generally toward the basin 309 from above and behind, so if the hands of the user are positioned immediately over or in the basin, the air flow will directly impact on the user's hands. Additionally, the basin 309 shape is such that air flow reflects off the interior of the basin and is deflected back up around the hands to impact on the hands as indicated by arrows D in Figure 41, without

blowing any excess water out of the basin, to effectively form a hot air "bubble" for hand drying in this space.

The system will be configured to stop air flow after a predetermined time or at any time up to that point when the user removes their hands from within the sensing zone (which will generally be just above the basin 309).

Figure 48d shows a preferred form logic sequence for the hand wash unit. In some forms of the invention, provision is made to automatically dispense a leave on anti-bacterial spray (commonly used in medical and care home institutions) instead of washing a user's hands.

Hand wash assembly (Fig 42)

In this preferred form, the unit is shown as a self contained module which can be fitted to either the left or right hand side of the main housing 1 but could also be free standing, wall, or bench mounted. The internal components have been shown for reference only and could change depending on the requirements of the system configuration i.e. if a plumbed hot water supply was used instead of a separate hot water tank (connecting pipe work is not shown). The components are as follows:

Tower 5; Secondary Pump 201; Hot Water Tank 211; Electric Heating Unit 213; Hot water Outlet 215; Hand Wash Valve 217; Divert Valve 219; Hand Wash Assembly 303; Upper Nozzle Set 305; Lower Nozzle Set 307; Hand Wash Basin 309; Hand Wash tower 311; Tower Chassis 312; Soap Outlet 313; Removable Strainer 314; Heating Element 319; Soap Container 320; Hot Air Outlet 323; Flap 325; Linear Ball Bushing 341; Guide Shaft 343; Mounting Bush 345; Basin Chassis 347; Collapsible Tube 349; Dispensing Actuator 351; Soap Dispensing Head 353; Non-contact Sensor 355; Hot Air Conduit 357: Tower Linear Actuator 359.

The Static Tower (Fig 43 - 46b)

The static tower 401 is configured to house a toilet tissue dispensing cartridge 403 and a chute 405 to deposit refuse through into either a removable bin 439 or sanitary unit (not shown) contained within the cupboard 407. Optionally it may also include a wet wipe or separate paper towel dispenser.

With traditional systems, dtoilet tissue is dispensed conventionally by pulling out the length of paper required, then tearing it off. When the paper roll is exhausted, it is often an inconvenient process to take a new roll from storage and fit it onto a dispenser when the user is still sitting on the pan, having not completed their toileting cycle. This situation can be easily worsened if there are no spare rolls within a sitting user's arm's length reach; or if they have any impairment which complicates fitting a new roll i.e. poor eye sight, restricted movement or lack of physical dexterity etc. Often the only time a user checks to see if there is a spare toilet roll handy is when the roll in use runs out.

To simplify the process of restocking rolls, the preferred form static tower is configured to accept a cartridge 403 that holds a plurality of toilet rolls 417. The cartridge 403 can be easily removed to be refilled; then replaced into a mechanism that is used to rotate a new toilet roll into position as an earlier roll is depleted.

The cartridge body 413 preferably has three or more rotatable spindles 415 for mounting standard toilet tissue rolls. A handle 419 is rotatably connected to the cartridge body about the axle axis but cooperates with a pin 431 through the axle 414 of the cartridge body, to lock the orientation of the handle to the cartridge so that when the cartridge is taken out of the housing, the body does not rotate freely. A cut out 419a in the handle allows toilet rolls to be easily slid on or off the mounting spindles. This allows the cartridge to be laid on its back i.e. on the side of the cartridge disk or plate 413 for refilling.

The axle 414 is held into the body by a pin 431 and a plate 433 and the orientation of the axle is keyed to the cartridge body so that their rotation is fixed. The axle can slide in and out of the body against a spring 435 to engage the pin 431 into a keyway 419b in the handle. The end of the axle 414 has a tapering protruding tongue 414a which is aligned generally vertically and parallel to the orientation of the handle when the cartridge is being

removed as shown in Figure 45. As shown in Figure 46a, the end face of the axle and tongue are angled.

The housing has a lid 401a that pivots open to refill the cartridge and keyways 421a, 421b to guide the protruding ends of the axle and cartridge body into position. The cartridge is configured so that it can only be removed or replaced in a fixed orientation i.e. with the axle tongue vertical so that as shown in Figure 45 roll X is the first roll to be used each time. As the cartridge is rotated preferably clockwise as denoted by the letter D to each new roll, the relative position of the control knob 409 can indicate on a graphic panel 411 when the user is on the last roll. The control knob and/or panel may comprise indicia to indicate to when the user is on the last roll. Alternatively this could be shown on a lighted or electronic display.

As the cartridge is slid down into position, the tongue 414a of the axle engages with a matching slotted recess in an armature 437 (Figure 46a, 46b); the engaging action depresses the axle into the cartridge body, releasing the interlocking pin 431 from the handle. This allows the handle to be independently rotated around the axis of the axle to an end stop position shown in solid lines in Figure 45. Protruding nubs 425 on the handle engage with radially aligned channels 427 in the housing, to lock the cartridge into position, keyed to the orientation of the control knob 409.

Referring to Figure 46a, 46b, the control knob is aligned and mechanically fixed to the armature so that their orientation relative to the cartridge body is fixed by a nub 437a on the armature that cooperates with a recess 429a in a mounting 429 to hold the cartridge in a locked position while the toilet roll is being used. To rotate the cartridge, the control knob 409 must be depressed in the direction of Arrow P in Figure 46a against the force of both spring 435 and a secondary spring 435a to disengage the nub 437a from the recess 429a. As the knob, armature and cartridge assembly is rotated, the nub 437a of the armature 437 runs in a guide (not shown) in the mounting 429 which cooperates with a latch 423 pivoted off the mounting and a ratchet feature 409a in the knob to control the rotation in 120° increments and prevent any counter rotation. As the knob is rotated, the spring force and guide in the mounting, pushes the knob back out in the direction of the phantom arrow P

in Figure 46a to its outermost position. The guide that the nub runs in has a 360° cam path machined into it that keeps the nub disengaged from the recess 429a for steps of 120° rotation. The cam path then "dips" back in to allow the nub to automatically (pushed by the spring force) locate securely into the recess in one of three possible locations, Le. indexed to 120° of rotation. A user can override this indexing by pushing back against the spring force to disengage the nub and continue to turn the cartridge. However, in normal use, once the user has pushed the knob in and turned it, it will normally lock after 120° of rotation. Alternatively the dispenser could have a spring loaded or motor driven mechanism to rotate the magazine automatically.

The cartridge must be rotated a full 360° before it can be removed to be refilled. The form of the vanes 413a allows the rolls to rotate freely in use but cooperates with the form of the housing to create an enclosed receptacle for each roll. The leading edge 413b of each vane may be pliable to reduce the danger of creating a finger pinch against the cut out 401b in the housing as the cartridge is rotated.

The chute 405 as shown in Figure 46a is positioned in a forward surface of the tower, i.e. facing away from a user in a forward oriented seated or squatting position over the pan. The chute 405 is still easily accessible, being within an arm's length reach of an adult seated user so that general refuse including paper waste can be deposited in the direction of Arrow R shown in Figure 46, into a rubbish bin.

The form of the chute tapers slighdy to a neck 405a, which in some variations could be shuttered with a movable flap (not shown) to hide the bin contents from view. This flap could be mechanically sprung or configured to open and close automatically when material is placed inside the chute.

Other Features

The toilet may incorporate other features, such as a bidet feature for example.

The toilet is preferably self-supporting with an internal sub-frame onto which all the other components and claddings will be fixed. The product aesthetic as shown is for reference only and may change but the underlying structure (ie the product architecture) will remain consistent depending on product options.

Both the retractable 301 and static tower 401 may have hand holds moulded into the form to assist users getting on and off the toilet. Separate support handles or grab rails may also be incorporated.

The product may incorporate user control and instruction panels, i.e. electronic displays and/or touch panel i.e. a power on/off or system fault indicator 505 as shown in Figures 19 - 20; and/or provide manual control over the automatic elements i.e. manual flushing, opening and closing of the lid parts.

A separate disposable or reusable sanitary floor mat 501 may be captured or held attached inside the foot space between housing extension 5 and 7, to prevent it crumpling underfoot; and may also be chemically treated to reduce bacterial growth and eliminate odours.

Lighting

The product will have a series of lighting options including a unit light 503 mounted in each extension 5 and 7, to light up the toilet area for use at night which is controlled by a sensor that detects ambient light levels; a pan target light 509 as shown in Figure 2 to assist aiming during standing male urination, that would turn off automatically if the user sat down; and local illumination of highlighted features ie lighting of the toilet tissue dispenser and lights that indicate processes during the hand wash sequence etc.

Power Requirements

The preferred form toilet is designed to be connected to a standard household main electrical supply which is converted to run the primarily 12-24 Volt DC internal systems

and to trickle feed a battery back up so that in a power failure, the combined water and low voltage electrical systems can provide up to four flush cycles. Some internal components i.e. the hot air hand dryer and water heating elements run directly off mains power so would not be usable in a power outage. It will be appreciated that the components that run off mains power will be voltage adjusting for different markets, or will be configured to work off a particular voltage depending on the intended market.

Intelligent Processes (Fig 47-48f)

Multiple sensors and an integrated logic system control most processes. These are fully explained by die logic diagram in Figure 47 and 48a— 48f. Figure 47 shows a legend for the logic diagram. The system detects a user's approach; opens the seat lids; determines whether there is weight on the seat (which could be a person either sitting or squatting on it) so turns the pan target light off and keeps the hand wash tower in the lower position until such time as weight comes off the seat, indicating the user has stood up etc.

The toilet will have a high level of built in intelligence which, through a combination of sensing and logic systems, will also monitor what is in the pan and then clean and flush it accordingly, checking to ensure that die pan has been sufficiently cleaned and ensuring that die pan is always cleaned using the minimum amount of water possible.

One option is to backlight the pan and use optical and/or pattern recognition software to analyse the density and distribution of waste material within the pan, then direct the cleaning nozzles/jets as necessary so that it would be much more efficient and effective than conventional systems.

Figures 49 to 54f show features of an alternative preferred embodiment toilet. Unless described below, the features and operation of the alternative preferred embodiment toilet should be considered die same as those described with reference to Figures 1 to 48f above, and like reference numerals are used to indicate like parts with the addition of 1000. For diis embodiment, Figure 49 replaces Figure 6, Figure 50 replaces Figure 7, Figure 51

replaces Figure 22, Figure 52 replaces Figure 23, Figure 53 replaces Figure 24, and Figures 54a-f replace Figures 48a-f.

In this embodiment, the seat washing is incorporated into the seat drying mechanism.

An outer array of two or more second nozzles 1042 are configured to provide a fluid spray onto the exposed upper rearmost section of each seat portion 1051, and are preferably controlled by independent solenoids. These nozzles are used to clean the seat portion 1051 and also part of the seat tray 1053 that underlies and supports the seat portion. The fluid sprayed from the second nozzles 1042 may, for example, comprise water mixed with a disinfectant or enriched with ozone to have anti-bacterial qualities.

The nozzles 1042 are configured to clean one side of the seat portion at a time. As can be seen from Figures 51 to 53, the nozzles 1042 are configured to deliver fluid into the airflow being ejected from the air outlets 1122a, 1122b, and thereby along the upper surface of the seat portion in a generally horizontal direction. In the form shown, the nozzles 1042 are configured to deliver the fluid in a direction substantially perpendicular to the seat portion surface, but it could instead be oriented at an acute toward the front of the seat portion if desired.

During operation, the airflow from one of the air outlets 1122a is started and ejected for a short amount of time, such as about 2 seconds for example. Following that time period, the operation of the air outlet is continued, and the nozzle corresponding to that air outlet is operated for a suitable period of time, such as about 3 seconds for example, to eject fluid from the nozzle. The fluid being ejected from the nozzle hits the seat surface and enters the airflow, and is carried along the seat surface by the airflow. As it travels along the seat surface, the fluid cleans the seat portion and the underside of the lid portion that is positioned above the seat portion. Some of the cleaning fluid will be ejected over the sides of the seat portion and exhausted due to the operation of the contaminated mist extraction system; however, there will be enough fluid passing along the seat portion to at least the forward centre portion of the seat portion to clean that half of the seat portion. Initially, the fluid will be contaminated from passing along the seat portion; however the nozzle

1042 is operated for a sufficient period of time that by the end of nozzle operation the fluid passing along the seat surface will be uncontaminated.

At the end of the required duration of fluid ejection, the nozzle operation is stopped, and the airflow over that half of the seat portion continues. The heated airflow continues for a sufficient time to remove any remaining fluid from the seat portion and underside of the corresponding lid portion, and to dry those components.

Following the drying of that side of the seat portion, the same cleaning and drying process is undertaken on the other side of the seat portion; that is airflow is ejected from the other air oudet 1122b. After about 2 seconds of air flow, the corresponding nozzle is operated for about 3 seconds, and the airflow continues to be ejected until that side of the seat portion and underside of the corresponding lid portion are dry.

The cleaning and drying process will typically take about 30 to about 35 seconds per side of the seat portion, using an airflow rate of about 4 cubic metres per minute. Therefore, the overall cleaning and drying process for the seat portion will typically require about 60 to about 70 seconds.

Rather than completing the cleaning and drying of one side of the seat portion prior to starting the cleaning and drying of the other side of the seat portion, the steps could be changed. For example, one side of the seat portion could be cleaned, the other side of the seat portion cleaned, the first side of the seat portion dried, and the second side of the seat portion dried.

The cleaning of the seat portion can be completed before or after the pan cleaning as desired. The pan cleaning process typically requires about 7 seconds. It may be desirable that the seat portion cleaning is completed prior to the completion of the cleaning of the pan, so contaminated fluid is not being delivered into the pan after it has already been cleaned. Accordingly, the first nozzles 1041 may operate after the second nozzles 1042.

The third nozzles 1043 may operate concurrently with, or immediately before or following, the second nozzles 1042 and prior to the operation of the first nozzles 1041.

While the pan is being cleaned, air will be delivered from one or other of the air outlets 1022a, 1022b to create a positive pressure in the area between the seat portion and the underside of the lid portions, to prevent mist from the pan cleaning procedure contaminating the seat portion.

By delivering the airflow from only one of the air oudets 1122a, 1122b at a time, die airflow to be extracted by the contaminated mist extraction system is reduced thereby maintaining negative pressure within the bowl cavity and continuing to draw air inwards from the surrounding environment to prevent the escape of contaminated air into the room. Additionally, by consecutively cleaning and drying the two halves of the seat portion, die airflow and cleaning fluid can pass die centreline of the seat portion at the front of the toilet, thereby enabling cleaning and drying of the full seat portion.

The above describes preferred forms of the present invention only, and modifications may be made thereto without departing from the scope of the invention. For example, where particular components are described for use in aspects of the invention, it will be appreciated that alternative components could instead be used. Additionally, a number of the aspects of the invention could be used as stand alone apparatuses, or alternatively integrated into existing toilet designs either alone or in combination.