What does a billionaire philantrophist do in his spare time?
If you're Bill Gates, you're working on making life better for people in third world countries - including their toilets.
A better-smelling world
Gates, having experienced for himself third world toilets (describing them as "pretty awful"), he decided to see if he could help create new toilets as well solve the challenges of creating better sanitation systems.
Poor sanitation and unsafe water contribute to the deaths of 800,00 children from pathogens and diseases. One huge factor is access to toilets - it might seem mindblowing to us, but one billion people don't have access to proper toilets.
Gates found that building toilets isn't enough - you have to make them so people will want to use them and be able to empty them in a sanitary manner. Gates' foundation partnered with Swiss fragrance and flavour company Firmenich to figure out which molecules create bad smells and which smell receptors are triggered by them.
Firmenich is experienced in the field of creating great scents, being behind Ralph Lauren and Hugo Boss colognes. With Gates, the company is aiming to create chemical compunds that will help block signals of revulsion while adding a fruity, floral and citrus undertone.
The firm might soon be zeroing in on a final solution, with Gates visiting a test facility and smelling a pleasant floral scent instead of smelling sweat, sewage and ripe cheese. Now the challenge is to find an affordable means, perhaps a powdered bleach or hanging deodoriser, to make the scent solution available in poorer countries that need it.
So it looks like the promise of better-smelling toilets everywhere you go could soon make daily life more bearable with the bonus of travellers not having third world toilet shock when visiting other countries.
[Source: Fast Company]