Philanthropist and Microsoft founder Bill Gates is offering start-up funds of $100,000 to anyone who can come up with the “next-generation condom,” according to Grand Challenges in Global Health.
The Round 11 of Grand Challenges Explorations initiative through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is aimed at improving the lives of the world’s poorest people – and a new, innovative condom could do just that.
The condom must be effective at lowering the chance of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases, and offer incentive for men and women to use it.
If chosen, the Foundation would continue to fund the condom up to $1 million.
To say that Bill Gates is calling for new development on high-tech condoms might be a bit of an overstatement, given that it conjures up the idea of Wi-Fi-friendly prophylactics running a stripped-down version of Windows 8 or something to that effect – we’ll let you make your own jokes on whether they’d be touch-friendly.
However, we’re only half-kidding. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation issued a press release earlier this month detailing a new round of topics for its Grand Challenge Explorations initiative, which rewards innovative ideas and proposals for addressing said issues an initial grant of $100,000 and potential funding of up to $1 million.
The Challenge states, “We are looking for a Next Generation Condom that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use. 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. In addition, attributes that address and overcome cultural barriers are also desired.“