By PAUL H.B. SHIN
Anyone who has confronted the horror of a clogged toilet about to overflow may have bemoaned why modern technology has been able to send a man to the moon but failed to invent anything more effective and sanitary than a dome of rubber on the end of a stick.
Really? That is the sum total of human ingenuity in the 21st century? Well, bemoan no more.
An inventor in South Korea has created what could be the biggest thing in plumbing since the plunger. And the video demonstration of it has gone viral, with nearly 3 million views on YouTube so far.
"I wondered if there was a better way," inventor Seung-il Kim, 36, told ABC News from South Korea. "It's the same principle as a plunger -- using pressure -- but it creates a lot more pressure than a plunger."
The device -- dubbed "Pung-too" -- works by adhering a strong plastic film over the bowl using a special adhesive. When you flush the toilet, the plastic film bulges up, and when the user presses down a few times, it miraculously unclogs the plumbing.
"I had a prototype about four years ago, but it took me two years to develop a special adhesive that was strong enough and worked on a ceramic surface," Kim said.
The product is currently on sale only in South Korea, costing about $24 for a set of three. But the video has prompted calls from interested vendors overseas, Kim said.
"My hope is that each home across the world will have one of these sanitary products," Kim said.