The Grand Challenges Explorations is an initiative that encourages scientists and innovators worldwide to devise new ideas to help tackle some of the world’s greatest health challenges.
Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, winners are rewarded with an initial $100,000 grant to help fund and develop their ideas and innovations.
This year, one of the challenges set was to “Develop the Next Generation Condom” with an end-goal of preventing HIV/STI transmission and unwanted pregnancy. One of the winners was Australian Dr. Robert Gorkin with his design that uses hydrogels – a material that is almost completely water-based with properties similar to body tissue.
Whilst further development is still required, Gorkin and his team at the University of Wollongong are confident that if an inexpensive solution to producing the material can be found, then it may revolutionise the condom industry as well as people’s behaviours to condom use.
“Once we have a material that is strong, safe and potentially more pleasurable we will move from a situation of ‘having to’ wear a condom to ‘wanting to’ use one.” The University wrote.
Read more here.