menu

Future Condoms Mimic The Feeling Of Human Skin

technology

Researchers are working on replacing latex with a material called "tough hydrogel."

Leah Gonzalez
  • 10 june 2014

A team of researchers at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in Australia was granted funding by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help develop a “Next Generation Condom” that can significantly enhance pleasure to promote its regular use.

The project aims to replace latex with a new material called a “tough hydrogel,” which is a skin-like material that can be designed to be completely transparent and to act and feel like real skin. This means the material can be used instead of latex to create condoms that feel more like human skin and provide more pleasure than most existing condoms.

Hydrogels are made of water connected together by polymers, which means they are naturally wet and have a stiffness similar to that of body tissues. Hydrogels are also self-lubricated and biocompatible, which makes them safe. In fact, contact lenses are made of a type of hydrogel and different forms of hydrogel are also being used in some consumer products like shower gels and toothpaste. They can be created to be biodegradable, allowing for easy and eco-friendly disposal of the item after use.

Another research team at UOW has been working on tough and stimuli-sensitive hydrogels with unique properties that enable them to “recover from large strains and absorb energy without damage.” These tough hydrogel sheets can be made to stretch over a thousand times their size, and it is this type of tough hydrogel that is being used to develop the hydrogel condom.

UOW-tough-hydrogel-condoms-1.jpg

The project team is led by biomedical engineer Dr. Robert Gorkin and includes polymer scientist Dr. Sina Naficy and molecular microbiologist Dr. Jason McArthur. The research team includes experts in the fields of engineering research, materials science, and biology to make sure that the material meets necessary validations like strength and elasticity of the material and its ability to prevent STDs and protect against pregnancy.

The new hydrogel condom is meant to help people in countries “where significant social, economic and environmental problems stem from lack of birth control and the spread of STDs.” The research team is also looking into working with groups in the areas of Southeast Asia and Sub-Sahara Africa to design prototypes and products that are in line with the social and cultural environment of these areas.

The hydrogel condom project was only one of 52 grants that were funded all over the globe as part of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges Explorations initiative.

Take a look at the video below for a more about the research.

University of Wollongong

Source: The Verge

technology
Trending

PSFK's Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Brand Development
Media & Publishing Yesterday

CNN Launched An Entire Drone Division Of Their News Network

CNN AIR incorporates aerial footage into the corporation's ongoing news coverage

Advertising Yesterday

Uber’s Breathalyzer Cards Let You Know If You Are Sober Enough To Drive

A new campaign from the ride-sharing service raises awareness about the importance of a safe trip home

Trending

Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Retail: Technology Primer

See All
Design Yesterday

Milk Proteins Could Be The Packaging Material Of The Future

A newly discovered casein-based alternative is biodegradable, sustainable and even edible

Technology Yesterday

Intel’s New System Will Help Technology See And Understand The World

Joule is a tiny board for developers designed to bring powerful computer vision to cheap and easy-to-make prototypes

Design Yesterday

This LA Hotel Is Designed Specifically For Cocktail Drinkers

The Walker Inn is a new Los Angeles "Bed and Beverage" experience that offers guests an intimate setting for their night cap

Education Yesterday

Bringing Virtual Reality And Telepresence Robotics To E-Learning

This Learning Management System is embracing new technologies to reallocate teaching resources to where they should be going

Advertising Yesterday

Interactive Art Exhibition For Dogs Provides Endless Fun

Installations created by artist Dominic Wilcox are based on activities loved by canines, such as fetching tennis balls and splashing in water

PSFK LABS REPORT

Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders
NEW

PSFK Op-Ed august 24, 2016

Why Building Better Offices Is The Key To Employee Engagement

Interaction Designer and Audio-visual Technologist at ESI Design illustrates the value in creating environments filled with surprise and delight

PSFK Labs august 24, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: The Annual Review Becomes An Everyday, Collaborative Activity

Our Future of Work vision is a web-based platform through which teams can collaborate on and monitor performance reviews across all channels, ensuring a happier workplace

Beauty Yesterday

Design Your Own Custom Watch Faces

Customize your wrist device with Garmin's new app that lets you display personalized images or patterns

Syndicated Yesterday

How The Olympics Taught Us Lessons In Cloud Analytics

Dan Vesset, group VP for analytics and information management at IDC, tells how cloud-based business analytics support decision-making

Beauty Yesterday

Retail Expert: What Sustainability Means To The Millennial Generation

Jo Godden, Founder of RubyMoon, discusses how brands can limit their environmental impact worldwide

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Artist Shuts Down Sexist Comments By Turning Them Into Images

Rora Blue explores social stigma in a photo series titled 'Handle With Care'

Arts & Culture Yesterday

Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Kanebo's latest addition to the Evita line includes an application that dispenses cleanser in the shape of a flower

PSFK LABS REPORT

Innovation Debrief: Boston
Business Concepts Born In 'The Hub'
AVAILABLE NOW

Mobile Yesterday

Twitter Bot Will Warn You If You Are A Troll

An online tool developed out of Intel's Hack Harassment movement helps filter out or notify cyber bullies

Retail Yesterday

Passengers Can Now Earn Airline Miles For Sharing Their Location Data

The Frequent Flyer app measures background data and gives travelers points that can be exchanged for tickets with participating airlines

Advertising Yesterday

The NBA Is Releasing Two Original Shows To Stream On Twitter

The sports league announced a deal that demonstrates an interesting expansion of its content strategy

No search results found.