The condom is being reinvented thanks to funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Grand Challenges. Bill Gates is the founder of Microsoft, one of the largest information technology companies in the world. He also founded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, one the largest foundations that supports education and health. The Grand Challenges in Global Health fosters scientific and technological innovation to solve key health problems in developing world. In March 2013, the challenge that was put forward was to develop the next generation of condoms.
Although condoms are very effective HIV prevention method, they are not widely used—consistently and correctly. The Grand Challenges aimed at motivating people to design condoms that will not only be effective but will be widely used. Eleven winners were awarded $100 000 to develop their condom concepts. Here is an overview of the proposed next generation of condoms.
The tenderloin or properly known as the Ultra-Sensitive Reconstituted Collagen Condom—this is a cow condom made to mimic human skin. Yes, it is actually made of cow parts.
Dynamic, Universal Fit, Low Cost Condom—this one is essentially a one-size fits all and actually tightens during intercourse, enhancing sensation while Project Rapidom, is a condom with applicator handles to help men put condoms on faster.
An American university team is attempting to biologically engineer a condom that is similar to lubricated skin. Also in the USA, the Ultra Sheer “Wrapping” Condom with Superior Strength will cling like cling wrap (similar to the cling wrap that you use to wrap up your food). There are already versions of this condom sold in a few countries around the world.
Another a condom with a very long title being developed in India will use a substance called graphene to produce condoms that are thinner, heat-conducting, and incorporate drugs to enhance safety and pleasure. The Super-Hydrophilic Nanoparticle Condom Coating will coat condoms in a thin layer of nanoparticles that will help prevent breakage.
Another finalist proposed the Ultrathin Adaptable Condoms for Enhanced Sensitivity during intercourse and body heat will mould the condom onto the penis.
The Condom Applicator Pack (CAP) will overcome the problem of having to put a condom on with bare hands. Another team was awarded for their idea of a condom also using nanoparticles but with the aim of making the condom durable.
And finally the Ultra-Sensory Condoms Based on New Superelastomer Technology aims to produce a condom that is soft, super thin, and cheap-to-produce.
If you had your pick of one of the eleven condoms above that you would like to see on the shelves in Malawi, which one would it be?