The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a challenge: "Reinvent the Toilet." Duke University researchers answered the call with a new system they’re testing out at a women's dormitory in Coimbatore, India.
Some 2.5 billion people lack access to safe sanitation, and women are disproportionately affected. “More than a quarter of Indian women drop out of school when they reach puberty, due in part from the lack of facilities to safely and discretely dispose of feminine hygiene products,” said Jeff Glass, project co-leader and an engineering professor at Duke. So the reinvented toilet includes features like a discreet disposal chute.