University graduates have designed a women’s urinal they claim is six times more efficient than the traditional lockable toilet.
Amber Robyn and Hazel McShane, who graduated from the University of Bristol last year, designed the hands-free Peequal when they were asked to solve a ‘real life problem’ for their masters project.
They used their experience of queuing for hours at music festivals to come up with their urinal, which fits six units inside a pizza shape – meaning more urinals can fit in smaller spaces.
The design is as a ‘fast-track’ toilet ‘for women who just want to pee’, the co-creators told TodayFM. They added: ‘We’re not trying to revolutionise the toilet.’
Instead, the Peequal streamlines the queue, meaning those needing to use proper toilets can still have access to a lockable door while others can get in and out within seconds.
Amber Probyn and Hazel McShane, who graduated in 2020, designed the hands-free Peequal, a new women’s urinal, when asked to solve a ‘real life problem’ for their masters project
The pair (Ms McShane, left, Ms Probyn, right) were sick of queuing for the ladies’ toilets when working at musical festivals in the UK during summer, telling the BBC that they would have to choose between going to the toilet or getting food
Research they conducted during the design process showed women queue up to 34 times longer than men because there are 10 male urinals for every women’s public toilet.
And once they get to the front of the queue, up to 80 per cent of women end up squatting over the toilet seat anyway to avoid bacteria.
A prototype of the new toilet, which is semi-private so you can’t see anything from the waist down, is being trialled at the Bristol Comedy Garden this weekend.
Ms Probyn and Ms McShane told the BBC they used to have to choose between going to the toilet or getting food when they worked at music festivals because the queues were so long.
Ms McShane studied physics with innovation while Ms Probyn is an anthropology with innovation graduate.
They designed the shape of the toilet bowl so it would suit various squat positions – low, high and wide – meaning the urinals are suitable for most women. Pictured, a graphic shows the various ways the urinals can be used
The pair talked to more than 2,000 women around Bristol in focus groups and pubs before coming up with their urinal, which they claim shortens queuing times.
Ms McShane said that the toilet is on a pedestal, but is an adaptation of a hole in the ground.
She said: ‘It’s designed like a boat to minimise splash back and also to have a little place for your clothing in front.’
They designed the shape of the toilet bowl so it would suit various squat positions – low, high and wide – meaning the urinals are suitable for most women.
A prototype of the new toilet, which is semi-private so you can’t see anything from the waist down, is being trialled at the Bristol Comedy Garden this weekend
Ms Probyn added that time spent queuing to use the ladies was ‘wasting hours of women’s lives’.
She said: ‘At the start of the day you might look at this women’s urinal and be like “I’m not sure about that” but after a few bevs, and after you’ve waited in the queue for about 15 minutes already – this option suddenly becomes much more appealing.’
The pair won the top prize in the University of Bristol’s flagship enterprise contest to start-ups, securing £15,000, BristolPost reported.
It is said that the new urinal, which travels flat pack and can be arranged in three different ways, produces 98 per cent less CO2 than other portable toilets and is made from 100 per cent recyclable materials.
When images of the new design were shared online some women had their grievances, but praised the women for looking into the issue.
One commented: ‘I’m all for festival toilet queues moving 6x quicker and having 10 less opportunities to touch a portaloo! …but I’m not sure how I feel about having my head above the parapet while I pee.’
Others were more critical, as one said: ‘What was the feedback as it looks awful! If I’m pulling down my clothes and underwear I want full height walls and a roof plus a real toilet. What we need are more actual, private toilets for women, this is not a solution to long queues.’
Another added: ‘No roof over it, nice when it’s raining.’