Bill Gates Wants To Build A Better Condom


But baby, it feels so much better without it…

Famous last words spoken before many a pregnancy or a nice case of crotch rot. Everyone knows condoms protect against unplanned pregnancy and the spread of STDs, including HIV. But they also carry a stigma of decreased pleasure for men. And so too many times, often in the heat of the moment, that small square packet remains sealed.

What if condoms actually made sex better? Sure, some have tried with “made for her pleasure” textures, heated lubricants and ultra-thin materials. But what if a truly revolutionary design changed attitudes about condoms forever? An unusual supporter is leading to charge to build a better rubber. Bill Gates has issued a $100,000 challenge to any inventor who can create the best next-generation condom.

According to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health, the condom has seen “very little technological improvement in the last 50 years.” Therefore, the foundation is seeking ideas to improve its design so that condoms actually enhance sexual experience. The challenge also requests ideas to “increase the ease-of-use for male and female condoms, for better packaging or designs that are easier to properly apply. In addition, attributes that address and overcome cultural barriers are also desired.

Just because the challenge comes from the Gates Foundation doesn’t mean the winner will be some high-tech rubber that sends sperm count reports to your smartphone And the new design can’t just look pretty and feel good. It has to be effective in preventing HIV and pregnancy. Plus it has to be inexpensive to mass produce

We are looking for a Next Generation Condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use,” the challenge states. “Additional concepts that might increase 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.

So what makes a next-gen condom? Venture Beat’s Tom Cheredar thought of a rubber that gets put on automatically with a zipper activation. And Gizmodo’s Eric Limer suggested the idea of force-field condoms. What about a spray-on condom? One-shot containers, similar to 5-hour-energy, that let you spray before you lay. Of course it would suck if you missed a spot.

What is your best idea for a 21st Century love glove?