There are four things that can be made “touchless” in a public restroom: the toilet can flush by itself, the water in the sink can turn itself on, the soap can dispense itself, and the paper towel can advance or the hand dryer turn on automatically.
In my travels, not many women’s restrooms are equipped with all four. (I can’t speak about men’s restrooms.) I have seen about every combination of two or three. The building I am in right now has auto-flush and auto-soap, but do-it-yourself water and towels. My favorite craft store has the opposite (auto water and towels, do-it-yourself flush and soap).
I suspect two motivations among restroom designers. One is to offer a mostly sanitary experience to the person using the facilities. The other is to minimize the waste of water, soap, and towels. Automating speaks to both of these.
I wonder who decides which parts to automate. Is there a panel? Are there experts? Do the plumbers get to choose?
Of course, I also wonder when in restaurant history the chocolate sauce moved from the top of the dessert to the plate underneath. And when in cooking history that onions went from “brown” to “caramelized.”
I wonder why butter comes in long narrow quarters in the Midwest and shorter, fatter quarters on the West Coast. Is there a “butter line” right through the Rocky Mountains? Did the salesman with the long-narrow packaging machine turn back when he got to Denver?
So I guess my habit of wondering is stronger than my interest in restroom design. Still, I wonder …