Bill Gates will give you $100,000 if you are capable of inventing a better condom.
You see, condoms are good because they help prevent STDs and unwanted pregnancies. But condoms are bad because they don’t feel the same as doing the real thing — it’s quite the condundrum!
Luckily, Grand Challenges — an arm of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — has extended a Grand Challenge for all those intrepid young inventors out there who can create a condom that doesn’t feel like a condom.
According to the Grand Challenges site, “Male condoms are cheap, easy to manufacture, easy to distribute, and available globally, including in resource poor settings, through numerous well developed distribution channels.”
“The primary drawback from the male perspective is that condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom, creating a trade-off that many men find unacceptable. 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?”
Gates would really like to find out if this is possible, and would like to hand you six figures if you can create a rubber that “preserves or enhances pleasure.”
This isn’t any simple challenge, however. Like any good science project, “[p]roposals must (i) have a testable hypothesis, (ii) include an associated plan for how the idea would be tested or validated, and (iii) yield interpretable and unambiguous data in Phase I, in order to be considered for Phase II funding.”
It sure is going to be difficult to get people to volunteer to test out this invention.