Safe sex is great, but you know what could make it even better? If condoms were made out of cow bodyparts.
Back in March, the Gates Foundation, owned by uber-rich Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates, announced a competition to build the next generation of condoms. Because current latex varieties can dull sensation, Gates encouraged entrepreneurs to create a condom that “significantly preserves or enhances pleasure, in order to improve uptake and regular use.”
The winners of the contest were announced today, and the Gates Foundation will be disbursing $1 million total for the development of the winning ideas. Many scientists are seeking to preserve sensation by creating condoms made out of other materials like polyethylene and polyurethane polymer.
The most fascinating idea, however, comes from a San Diego-based medical technologies company that is using its $100,000 grant to develop condoms made out of collagen extracted from cow tendons.
“A lot people are trying to get stronger and thinner material—that was always my focus,” grant winner Mark McGlothlin told The New Republic. “But the texture of collagen is very much like the mucous membrane: The feel of it, the heat transfer of it, and to the touch, it feels very much like skin.”
Sounds great, but whatever happened to that condom slingshot?