Introduction: The Bom-bidet
Portable bidets on the market are designed for people who have significant range of motion in two arms. The spout on these bidets are short, have a limited water reservoir, and are underpowered. In addition, the placement of a hand pump, or on/off switch requires the use of two hands. Wiping devices that use toilet paper or flushable wipes may bring contaminating material from the rear into the urethra, leading to infection.
This bidet was made for one specific person as a part of the 2019 MIT Assistive Technology Hackathon. It is our hope that others will be able to use this design to enable them to use the toilet at work, at school, while on vacation, or anywhere there is not a bidet already attached to a toilet.
Description of the Problem :
Our client needs a portable bidet so that they can efficiently and safely use the bathroom outside of their home. Current Massachusetts plumbing code (2019) does allow for bidets to be attached to public toilets and the ADA classifies bidets as “personal devices,” thus not requiring public spaces to make reasonable accommodations. In fact, the only case law on the books specifically says that bidets are used by so few people that public buildings do not have to accommodate people with disabilities in this way (Douris vs County of Bucks, et. al. 2005).
Out client spoke of issues encountered including: lack of bidet means needing to have a personal care attendant or helpful friend with them in order to safely have a bowel movement outside of their home. Since hiring a permanent shadow (PCA) is impractical and expensive, our client spoke of not leaving home on days when their stomach was upset, and of having to sit in their own excrement sometimes in public because not every bathroom trip can be anticipated hours in advance. Worrying about this issue has also changed our client’s relationship to food. They often eat only two meals a day, and eat very little while at work for fear of aggravating their stomach. Our client disclosed that they haven't been on a vacation without a PCA for years, and that their personal and professional relationships have been adversely impacted. Not being able to feel clean has also negatively impacted their self-esteem and caused them to question if they should truly live alone in the community or move into an assisted living facility.
Step 1: Materials
Bidet with 9" nozzle (Amazon $9.79 on 3/2/19)
Quiet aquarium motor (Amazon $9.99 on 3/2/19)
7/16 Food safe tubing (Amazon $5.74 on 3/2/19)
32 oz. Water bottle (Amazon $9.99 on 3/2/19)
Adhesive sealant, 100% silicone (Amazon $6.69 on 3/2/19)
16mm Panel Mount Momentary Pushbutton (Adafruit $0.95 on 3/2/19)
8 holder battery pack (Amazon $9.00 on 3/2/19)
8 AA batteries
Access to a soldering iron
Step 2: Prep the Water Bottle
Drill a 1/2 inch hole into the lid of the water bottle. Put the motor into the bottle feeding the tube and wire through the top. Seal the hole in the lid with the sealant.
Step 3: Prep the Tubing and Wire
Measure the required length of tubing and wire. We had the water bottle hanging from the side of our client's motorized wheelchair and went into a bathroom to see how long the wire and tubing would need to be to reach from the bag on her chair to a position where it would reach the areas they wanted to clean.
Step 4: Prep the Nozzle
Drill a 1/2 inch hole in the bottom of the manual bidet to feed the tubing and wire through. Drill a 5/8th inch hole in the bidet for the button, wherever it will be easy to hold the button down while aiming the bidet nozzle. Ours was on the side of the bidet bottle.
(Full disclosure, for our product we decided to hand lath a grip for our client due to some of their preferences and hand function. However, this version also works, and may be a better or more comfortable grip for some.)
Step 5: Prep the Button
Solder the button to the wire, and seal the button to the inside of the manual bidet.
Step 6: Connect the Nozzle
Take off the nozzle of the bidet, and feed the tubing through the bottom of the manual bidet and into the interior of the nozzle as far as it will go. Seal the hose into the bidet. Screw the nozzle onto the manual bidet.
Step 7: Enjoy!
Eat a good meal out, linger over dessert, and don't worry about rushing home to the bathroom, the Bom-bidet has your (ahem) back.