TOTO offers the architectural community insights and education gained from the company’s concentrated research and testing conducted at its Universal Design Research Center for Advanced Science & Technology in Japan, the only one of its kind in the world.
For more than 30 years, TOTO has been developing products based on its Five Principles of Universal Design:
- Minimal physical exertion
- Simple and intuitive
TOTO recognizes that its products are invariably used every day and by everyone. With this in mind, TOTO firmly believes in the importance of creating products that take into consideration not only the needs of the elderly or people with special physical challenges, but also the needs of all people of all ages and abilities, including, for example, pregnant women and growing children.
In 2002, to further concentrate its work in this area, TOTO established its Universal Design Research Center for Advanced Science & Technology and developed a network of more than 280 people of varying ages and physical abilities from inside and outside the company to test its products on an ongoing basis. Such testing takes place in the Universal Design Research Center’s observation studios, where products are closely monitored as users interact with them to discover what specific things people find difficult to use or inconvenient.
Further, to enable its product designers and engineers to experience the reduced physical movements (range of motion) of individuals with special needs, TOTO designed a system that adds weights to the joints of their arms and legs. In this way, they are able to understand – at the somatic level -- the difficulty these people have rising from a sitting to standing position, lowering themselves from a standing to a sitting position, and getting in and out of enclosures such as tubs and shower stalls, to name but a few the tests conducted. Its Visual Acuity Simulator uses special frosted glass to recreate the dim sight experienced by a person of low visual acuity (this simulator does not include presbyopia).
TOTO’s mission is to design products and environments free of inconvenience and discomfort, offering ease of use, safety, and comfort to everyone from every possible circumstance of life.