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Fake running water app helps to mask toilet noises21st of May 2013
An app that conceals 'washroom noises' has been launched to avoid people becoming embarrassed in the public loo.
The free app from Akatu emits a sound that mimics the noise of a shower or a running tap. Available for iPhones and iPads, Akatu Fake Shower has been described by the company as an "awareness tool" to alert washroom users of the need for conserving water.
However, critics point out that the loudness of the sound it emits is determined by the limits of the iPod or iPhone speakers. But according to the company, the Akatu Fake Shower saves not only the blushes of washroom users - but also water. The company claims that many people routinely turn on the tap or flush the toilet in order to hide washroom sounds.
Masking toilet sounds is not a new concept. A device that reproduces the sound of flushing water was introduced in Japan in the 1980s since many Japanese women are embarrassed at the thought of being heard by those in adjacent cubicles.
The Sound Princess, developed by toilet manufacturer Toto, is available either as a battery-operated device attached to the toilet wall or as an integral part of an existing Toto toilet.
The device is activated by pressing a button or waving a hand in front of a motion sensor. The Sound Princess, which can be stopped manually or set to create a flushing noise for a preset time, is estimated to save up to 20 litres of water per use.