I suppose this statement is technically incorrect, hygienic toilet seats have long been available in many parts of the world where they don’t have seats; I am referring to squat toilets. Fortunately, here in the US squat toilets have never been used and hopefully never will.
I would imagine that hygiene has been a concern ever since the advent of indoor plumbing but prior to the advent of electronics there was little that could be done. Paper toilet seat covers have been available for many years but they really are not a successful solution to the problem, half the time they fall in the bowl and the other half they fall on the floor. In many cases the dispenser is empty of inconveniently located. The other common solution is to layer the toilet seat with toilet paper; this solution is no better, the paper ends up everywhere except where it’s needed.
When these issues were addressed, electronics were commonly available that allowed designers and engineers to come up with a solution, almost. Infrared was used to control the action of faucets, urinal flush and toilet flush. When the faucet was approached, water began to flow and kept flowing for a period of time, long enough to wash your hands; it then shut off without any touch by the user. The same principle was used for urinals, when a user approached, the infrared beam was broken and it flushed, once again, hands off. The same concept was used to flush a toilet.
As good as these solutions were and still are, the problems of a potentially germ laden toilet seat were not addressed, the same solutions, paper covers and toilet paper was all there was. In many cases women had a slight advantage over men as they could carry sanitary wipes in their purse which allowed them to wipe the seat surface.
Now, Brill Hygienic Products have developed the ultimate solution, a continuous plastic tube that rolls completely around the toilet seat from one corner to the next. It works similar to a 35mm camera; there are two spools, one spool holds the unused roll, the other spool holds the used plastic. When a user has finished and leaves the cubicle, the used cover is rolled up and disposed of, when the next visitor enters the cubicle, a quick wave of the hand in front of a sensor immediately brings a clean, never been touched length of tube, providing the ultimate in hygienic toilet seats.