Last summer Bill Gates and his foundation held a competition to reinvent the toilet. Now he’s hoping to do the same for condoms.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is putting up$100,000 to the best proposal for a more fun and pleasurable condom.
The competition is part of its Grand Exploration Challenges, which has already doled out nearly $50 million for quirky but effective solutions to global health problems, like microwaves to treat malaria and an electronic nose to detect tuberculosis.
But why do condoms need revamping? The Gates Foundation, which supports NPR, says that a lot of men perceive them as interfering with the pleasure of sex, and that means they won’t use them consistently.
So the foundation is calling for new shapes, materials and packaging that “significantly preserve or enhance pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.”
To get a sense of what kinds of ideas they’re keen on, have a look at the post he and a colleague recently wrote on The Impatient Optimists blog.
First, there are the ORIGAMI Condoms. Shaped like miniature accordions, these silicone rubbers fit loosely and aim to simulate the feeling of sex without a condom. They also boast a 2.8 seconds “application time,” the company’s website says, which presumably means they go on easily.
There is also something in the works for the ladies.
Photo by ederk /iStockphoto.com