No matter where you fall on the PC vs. Mac debate, one thing that isn't up for discussion is Bill Gates' commitment to humanitarian causes. He and his wife, Melinda, have one of the world's best reputations when it comes to giving, financing, fundraising, and simply donating, especially through their foundation. Their most recent initiative tackles a particularly sensitive subject that isn't just a health problem, but a sexual problem as well. The Foundation is asking inventors and designers to imagine what's next for the condom. The winning design will receive $100,000 of initial funding, possibly going up to $1 million.
Condoms have been around for 400 years, and aside from a few adjustments, they have changed relatively little in the last 50. The Foundation writes, "We are looking for a Next Generation Condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use." In other words, having a user-applied, affordable, side effect-free device that is clinically proven to prevent STIs or pregnancy (when used correctly) isn't enough: People have to actually want to use a condom in order for real change to occur. In a statement, the Foundation continues, "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 realizes that, in the heat of the moment, long-term incentives like protection or contraception aren't as enticing as, say, pleasure.
So, for all you industrial design, biochemistry, or healthcare pros, now is your time to come up with the million dollar condom. Our suggestions: Biodegradable and glow-in-the-dark*. How can you resist? (Mashable)
*Just kidding, these already exist.
Photo: Courtesy of Amazon
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