High tech rolls into the restroom

The RollScout in brushed nickel

Conceived by its designers as a restroom accessory to help you go in peace, the RollScout automatically keeps track of toilet paper levels and can alert you in advance if the roll is reaching its end.

At first glance, the RollScout looks like any other well-designed toilet paper holder, but it's one with a couple of clever high-tech tricks beneath its minimalist exterior.

Chief among them is a set of infrared sensors that measure the thickness of the roll currently in service. Once a roll passes a certain threshold, the RollScout's colored warning system kicks in. A pulsing amber light will start to shine to attract attention and as the roll gets smaller still, the amber will give way to red.

But that's just the start. If RollScout passes its initial $37,500 funding target -- its Kickstarter campaign went live this week -- the flashing lights will be augmented by smartphone alerts telling you that the upstairs bathroom is running low on paper and that you should do something about it.

The RollScout is powered by a single A23 battery -- so no need to call out an electrician -- and installation requires a drill and a screwdriver for fixing it to the wall, just like a regular toilet roll holder.

And, aware that different households have different tastes, the production version will be available in a choice of finishes -- polished gold, antique bronze, brushed nickel, ceramic white and 14K gold.

Although the RollScout is generating a lot of media attention, the buzz is so far not translating into financial support. At the time of writing, the gadget had attracted just 18 backers and a combined $664 despite early bird offers of a brushed nickel RollScout for just $59.

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