According to one report,
“One of the oldest incontrovertible descriptions of a condom comes from 16th-century Italian physician Gabriele Falloppio, who lent his name to the Fallopian tube. Amidst a roaring syphilis epidemic, Falloppio recommended that men sheath their penises in specially treated linen, tied with ribbons. The doctor is said to have tested these linen condoms on 1,100 men, all of whom supposedly avoided contracting syphilis.”
However, Bill Gates wants to see something new. He has invested $100,000 into a team to develop the condom of the future. Through his Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Bill aims at making the condom awesome so as more people use it to prevent unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections. The condom of the future will preserve or enhance pleasure and will be easier to use.
The foundation will see Benjamin Strutt and a team from Cambridge Design Partnership in the United Kingdom will design a male condom out of a composite material that will provide a universal fit and is designed to gently tighten during intercourse, enhancing sensation and reliability. While Willem van Rensburg of Kimbranox Ltd. in South Africa will test a condom applicator, the Rapidom, which is designed for easy, technique-free application of male condoms. Kimbranox will test an applicator designed to be applied with one motion, thereby minimizing interruption.
The new two are part of Bill and Melinda Gates’ Grand Challenges Explorations (GCE) initiative which funds innovative ideas to tackle persistent global health and development problems. The winners were selected from 14 countries from over 2,700 proposals.
According to Chris Wilson, director of the Discovery & Translational Sciences team at Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation,“Grand Challenges Explorations is designed to foster the most innovative ideas to save the lives of the world’s poorest people. Although these five areas are very different, solving each one of these problems in new ways could make a huge impact.”
The foundation selected over 81 projects and each received $100,000 in funding to pursue its goal.
1. Gisli Olafsson of NetHope Inc. in the U.S. will work to improve humanitarian information management in emergencies, such as after a natural disaster.
2. Wayan Vota of Development Gateway in the U.S. will combine data generated by citizens and governments into an interactive interface that can be easily accessed and used by average citizens to improve their communities in three Nairobi slums.
3. Mumbi Kimathi and a team from Farm Concern International in Kenya developing a mobile phone platforrm to promote farming-related trade between and around villages in rural Africa. Dubbed “e-Women Dial-up Initiative, the platform will be used for ordering and paying for farming-related materials, products, and services
4. Mustafa Ojonuba Jibrin from Nigeria working on a participatory reality TV show to promote the use of draught animals to help female farmers in Nigeria with plowing, ridging, and weeding.
5. Edwin Routledge from the UK, developing an artificial snail decoy to attract the parasite Schistosoma mansoni, which causes chronic disease, with the goal of reducing the numbers of humans who are infected.
6 .Judy Sakanari from the U.S. developing an inexpensive electromagnetic detection device to identify and diagnose parasitic worms to help infected patients get well faster.
7. Milosz Faber from the US developing a rabies vaccine that both protects dogs against rabies and reduces their population levels to control the incidence of human rabies. Human rabies causes 70,000 deaths annually and is mostly spread by dogs.
8. George Warimwe from UK’s University of Oxford developing a vaccine to protect a variety of species, including humans, sheep, and cattle, against Rift Valley fever, which can cause serious illness.
9. Abi Santhosh Aprem from India will continue work coating IUD devices with polymers to increase acceptance of this highly effective contraceptive device.
10. Olufunke Cofie from Ghana developing fortified fertilizer pellets from treated human excreta for market sale.
11. Andrew Shennan from UK, working on a new blood pressure monitor that uses solar power and requires little training to use. To field test in rural Ethiopia, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
Get more info on grant awardees can be found here.