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Innovation

Samsung develops 'reinvented toilet' with Gates Foundation

Samsung has developed a 'reinvented toilet' with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation that kills pathogens and safely dispose of human waste.
Written by Cho Mu-Hyun, Contributing Writer on
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Samsung vice chairman Jay Y Lee, left, and Bill & Melinda Foundation co-chair Bill Gates met in South Korea on August 16 to discuss the progress on Samsung's 'reinvented toilet.' Image: Samsung

Samsung said on Thursday that it has developed a new toilet that recycles and safely disposes of human waste in collaboration with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The South Korean tech giant was responding to the foundation's Reinvent the Toilet Challenge that started in 2011, which aims to develop cost-effective toilets that can deliver inclusive sanitation services without the need for sewage treatment systems.

The company's advanced research arm Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology had been working with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation since 2019. The institute recently completed the development of core technologies and made a prototype of the toilet that has gone through a user test, Samsung said.

According to the South Korean tech giant, the toilet, aimed for household use that meets the performance requirements of the foundation, comes with heat-treatment and bioprocessing technologies to kill pathogens from human waste and the released material is safe for the environment.

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Samsung's prototype of its reinvented toilet Image: Samsung

The treated water can be fully recycled, while the solid waste is dried and combusted to ash and the liquid waste is purified, Samsung said. The company added that it plans to offer licenses of patents related to the toilet for free to developing countries during commercialization.

According to the South Korean tech giant, Samsung's initiative to develop the toilet was started by Samsung vice chairman Jay Y Lee, the de facto leader of the conglomerate, who met with Bill Gates earlier this month to discuss the progress of the project.

Lee shared his commitment to using Samsung's technologies to help "address the challenges facing humanity," the company added.

Samsung has announced multiple corporate social responsibility projects in recent years. At Unpacked in February, the company said it was incorporating materials made from discarded fishing nets to make its Galaxy devices.

Last year, the company said it was repurposing used Galaxy phones and modifying them into eye care devices for use in underserved communities around the world.

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