Now it won't be possible for a man to pee in peace, with urinals in the US broadcasting public health messages.
Urinals in the US have been fitted with the Wizmark Urinal Communicator, a waterproof, disposable drain cover embedded with electronics that senses a visitor and then relays an audio message. The proximity sensor detects someone approaching within about 30 to 60 centimetres. A few seconds afterwards, the detection lights flash, and a pre-recorded audio announcement starts playing.
The device has a nine-centimetre diameter display area containing a lenticular screen that features multiple images or text that, and as the person moves toward the urinal, they appear to change from one graphic to the other.
Dr Richard Deutsch, its inventor, said the device can be programmed to play anything from beer commercials to public service announcements promoting responsible drinking, and has been designed to fit over the drain of standard-sized urinals. It also acts as a deodoriser with a disinfectant base, he said.
"It functions as a point of information and amusement for the male visitor," Discovery News quoted Dr Richard Deutsch as saying.
Dr Deutsch, a chiropractor and bioengineer, as well as the founder of US company Healthquest Technologies said he conceived the idea while on a business trip to Washington DC.
He said on a pit stop to an airport toilet, he realised he was staring down at a drain for about the same length of time as it took to play a commercial.
He said he worked for several years to develop and patent a prototype and after one year started mass-producing it.
The Wizmark Urinal Communicator is being also used to tout anti-drink-driving, safe sex, and anti-drug messages. Safety officials in Nassau County, New York, have already acquired 100 copies of the Wizmark, funded by fines from those caught driving while intoxicated, as part of a pilot program to be distributed free to bars, clubs and restaurants.
"This is perfect for the target audience we try to reach all of the time and have difficulty doing it," said Joanne McGarry, the co-ordinator of Nassau County's anti-drink driving programme.