Could New Security Technology Save Lives?

pic3According to a recent report by Channel Seven News, a man who had a stroke and spent 20 hours unconscious in a Sydney hospital toilet before he was found, has died.

The man went to the Royal North Shore Hospital on Monday for an appointment in the outpatient clinic, and when he failed to present himself to the clinic staff, he was listed as a “no show”.

He was found on Tuesday in a hospital toilet, sparking a major investigation into how he went unnoticed for so long.

On Saturday, the hospital confirmed the man had died. “On behalf of Royal North Shore Hospital I extend our deepest sympathies to the family,” Dr Andrew Montague of the Northern Sydney Local Health District said in a statement.”

Takenaka Engineering (TAKEX) has developed a ‘Toilet Occupancy Sensor’ (TAKEX TS-7). This sensor has been designed to detect and engage when a person enters a toilet and stays engaged until the toilet is no longer occupied. When connected to a Nurse-call system or Building Management System, the time that the toilet is occupied can be monitored. If a pre-set time expires, assistance can be automatically summoned by the hospital’s pre-existing monitoring systems.

Unique aspects of this device

According to Tom Kinkade, Australian National Sales Manager for Takex America Inc, “There is a big difference between detecting the presence of an awake/alert person and one that is completely motionless. The majority of presence sensors use motion detection techniques (PIR, Ultrasonic, Microwave) to determine whether or not an area is occupied. Motion detection technologies are unable to detect a completely motionless body.

In developing this product, our engineers considered the unique circumstances of toilet occupancy monitoring.

  • The sensor must detect a person entering the toilet.
  • The sensor must stay engaged while the toilet is occupied.
  • The sensor must stay engaged, even if the occupant is completely motionless.
  • The sensor must stay engaged if the occupant has fallen onto the floor and remains motionless.”

The TS-7 sensor uses optical “phase differential” distance measurement to define the distance between the ceiling and the toilet and the ceiling and the floor surface. The sensor will detect a person entering the restroom and will continue to detect their presence, even if they lie down on the floor.

Those people working in facilities management, life safety services and security roles who might like more information about this potentially life saving product can contact Tom Kinkade +61 (3) 9544 2477 or email