Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Bill Gates offers N15.8 million for ‘magic' condom


Bill Gates has offered $100,000 (about N15.8m) for anyone to come up with “next generation condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.”

Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) selected a reinvention of the toilet that functions as a solar-powered wastewater treatment system. Now, Gates is challenging inventors to use improvements in materials science to develop a condom that feels good.

The idea is that, as reliable and easy-to-use as condoms are, men supposedly experience more pleasure having bareback sex than they do using a condom. The challenge asks:

Is it possible to develop a product without this stigma, or better, one that is felt to enhance pleasure? If so, would such a product lead to substantial benefits for global health, both in terms of reducing the incidence of unplanned pregnancies and in prevention of infection with HIV or other STIs?

The challenge states that condoms have been in use for around 400 years, and have not improved in the past 50 years. However, the scientific advances made in the past 50 years, the initiative reads, have not been applied to this important area:

Material science and our understanding of neurobiology has undergone revolutionary transformation in the last decade yet that knowledge has not been applied to improve the product attributes of one of the most ubiquitous and potentially underutilized products on earth.

A better feeling condom could go a long way to convincing some men that they might as well roll one on before sex, if only for their own safety.

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