Hi-tech Chinese Urinals
High-Tech Urinals in China Offer Instant Health Screenings (Photo: Christian Petersen-Clausen)

Public restrooms in China boast new, high-tech urinals offering health screenings for under $3. These urinals analyse urine for a range of health markers.

Major Chinese cities like Beijing and Shanghai are installing these innovative urinals in some public men's restrooms. These urinals reportedly offer on-site urine testing for various health markers, with a quick and accurate analysis costing just 20 yuan (roughly £2.23).

Shanghai documentary director Christian Petersen-Clausen shared his experience with these innovative urinals in a now-viral social media thread. "A private company is offering the urine analysis for RMB 20," he noted, "Naturally, I tried that out."

Petersen-Clausen acknowledged privacy concerns in a series of follow-up posts but emphasised his desire for a quick check-up. "I was more worried about knowing everything's okay," he said, "and the convenience is unbeatable."

Petersen-Clausen elaborated on the process in a social media post. "The whole process is about as easy as one might think," he wrote. He included photos of the high-tech machine, featuring a man using the urinal with instructions in Mandarin.

The post highlighted the speed of the service, with Petersen-Clausen receiving his results "before I even made it down the escalator." His test results indicated a calcium deficiency, but everything else appeared normal, he said.

Encouraged by the initial test, Petersen-Clausen later encountered another health-checking urinal and took a second test. This time, the results showed an improvement in his calcium levels. It is no secret that urine can be a valuable health analysis tool.

Just last year, researchers made significant progress by developing a diagnostic tool that utilises urine samples for cancer detection. Similarly, a new study suggests artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game-changer in detecting health risks before symptoms even surface.

The Future of Public Restrooms? Urine Analysis Urinals in China

"The company seems to be installing them all over China and given how important early detection of health issues is I think this is quite good," Petersen-Clausen said.

According to a translated image shared by Petersen-Clausen, the machine can test several health markers, such as Vitamin C, creatinine, white blood cells, glucose, and more.

"Addendum: my Chinese wife could not have cared less about all of this and is surprised this tweet ended up as popular as it did. At least now I can prove to her I'm not the only weirdo who finds this stuff interesting."

The Bastille Post reports that similar high-tech urinals have been spotted across China, not just in public restrooms, but also in high-traffic areas like shopping malls and high-speed service stations.

A shopping mall in Beijing's Fengtai District features a health-testing urinal that promises quick and accurate results in just two minutes. However, a disclaimer on the machine reads, "This product is not a medical device, and the results cannot be used as a basis for diagnosis. It is only used as a reference for health management data."

A hawk-eyed netizen also noted a disclaimer on the machine stating it's "not a medical device" and results are "for reference only, not diagnosis."

Following up, some mainland media outlets contacted the customer service hotline for the testers, posing as consumers. The staff indicated that the urine test pricing varies depending on the machine's location.

"The charging standards are also different in different areas where the machine is placed, about 20 yuan each time." The staff assured inquirers that hygiene was a priority during the equipment's design. However, they reiterated that test results are for informational purposes only, not diagnosis.

"If you feel any physical discomfort, it is best to go directly to the hospital for further examination," they said.