The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a charitable organization that you’ve undoubtedly heard mentioned a few hundred times between news segments on NPR — and probably the last group you’d think of when it comes to revolutionary condom inventions.
Still, condom innovation what the Gates Foundation — in partnership with Grand Challenges in Global Health — is the latest cause that the group has decided to fund. The Gates foundation is offering a $100,000 grant to students, scientists, or entrepreneurs that want to create the world’s next-generation condom. Now, before you decide that this is a ridiculous way to spend money, consider that condoms are very important devices that help control the population rate and prevent wide-spread and life-threatening diseases. So, if someone can figure out a way to make people use them more often, it’s generally going to be a positive thing — but not the driving motivation for leading condom manufacturers.
Finding out exactly what a next-gen condom suppose to be is another issue entirely. Gizmodo’s Eric Limer suggested the possibility of force-field condoms, which is sort of genius. Personally, I was personally thinking a little more low-tech, such as condoms that are put on automatically via zipper activation or condoms that administer a shot of 5-hour energy during the act.
Here’s what the Gates Foundation had to say about the innovation end:
Additional concepts that might increase [condom usage] uptake include attributes that increase ease-of-use for male and female condoms, for example better packaging or designs that are easier to properly apply. In addition, attributes that address and overcome cultural barriers are also desired.
Condom photo via Kzenon/Shutterstock