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Charmin debuts a toilet paper robot and a bathroom smell sensor at CES 2020

TechRepublic logo TechRepublic 1/5/2020 N.F. Mendoza
a close up of a computer: Charmin's RollBot toilet paper robot debuts for CES 2020. Image: Proctor & Gamble © Provided by TechRepublic Charmin's RollBot toilet paper robot debuts for CES 2020. Image: Proctor & Gamble

Charmin is getting a bit cheeky at CES 2020 with a toilet paper robot.

That's right, a TP bot. It will bring your toilet paper to you in a hurry if you find yourself stranded on the commode without a roll. Consider it the ultimate in a smart home.

The bathroom, the last bastion of privacy from high tech, now has its own robot, thanks to Proctor & Gamble's Charmin's GoLab. At least, in theory. The product is one of three that P&G is debuting at CES 2020 as a concept, but that won't be available for sale to the public. 

Anxiety-plagued Mr. Whipple and his pleas of "Please don't squeeze the Charmin" during the long-running ad campaign of 1965 to 2000 couldn't have predicted that his precious product would regain the spotlight for a robot that brings toilet paper, a VR experience, and a sensor for smells. 

a close up of a toy © Image: Proctor & Gamble

SEE: More CES 2020 coverage (TechRepublic)

According to studies that Proctor & Gamble cites, on average, people use the bathroom six to seven times daily, and spend an average of 156 hours a year on the toilet. For such a critical room in a home, it's seen very little innovation — until now. 

Charmin's three new technologies at CES, the RollBot, SmellSense and V.I.Pee, are conceptual prototypes are "made to deliver a better bathroom experience from start to flush," according to P&G.

Here's a closer look at each of the new products:

RollBot

RollBot: a first-of-its-kind robot, that when controlled with a smartphone using Bluetooth, will deliver a fresh roll of Charmin, so you won't be caught in that awkward, talk-to-yourself position again. You might remember that next to Mr. Whipple, Charmin's avatar is a roly-poly forest bear, and the futuristic design of the RollBot "uses self-balancing technology to give it a more bear-amorphous look," the release said.

SmellSense

a close up of a toy: The inner workings of SmellSense. Image: Proctor & Gamble © Provided by TechRepublic The inner workings of SmellSense. Image: Proctor & Gamble

SmellSense: We've all been there: trying not to make it obvious that we're waiting for the bathroom to "air out" after the previous visitor. The predictive SmellSense is an electronic sensor monitoring system that allows users to plan ahead and check how the bathroom smells without having to experience it yourself. It's calibrated to detect carbon dioxide found in a "toot" or "two." SmellSense notifies via a GO/NO GO display on the status of the stench. It lets you know when you can go in without an offending nasal assault.

V.I.Pee

The V.I.Pee from the Charmin GoLab. Image: Proctor & Gamble © Provided by TechRepublic The V.I.Pee from the Charmin GoLab. Image: Proctor & Gamble

V.I.Pee: Portable toilets generally garner an "ugh" from party, concert, or event attendees. But V.I.Pee is a "premium" experience "enhanced with Oculus Rift S VR" to transport a GOer missing out on any moment to the front row, "to never miss a beat on the seat." Joining the event virtually "right where you left off before the call of nature rolled in," making the bathroom "the best seat in the house." Er, OK. 

But if you're interested in adding more technology to your bathroom, maybe Charmin is onto something and these conceptual products will eventually move from the CES show floor to a toilet near you in future years.

For more, check out the CES 2020 Preview on CNET.     

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