“The ambition is to accomplish a condom that has the aforementioned arrangement as beastly skin—you won’t alike apperceive it’s there,” said Jimmy Mays of the University of Tennessee, addition grantee, who believes he can get there with thermoplastic elastomers, a stretchy, abiding chic of artificial he’s been researching for 25 years. Thermoplastic elastomers, which feel bendable and rubbery, can angle for a best aeon than acrylic after breaking and again balance their antecedent dimensions, authoritative them a advantaged actual in customer articles like besom grips and iPhone covers. “I’m not a condom guy—I’m a polymer chemist, and our actual was clothier fabricated for this purpose,” he told me.
If the Holy Grail is to simulate beastly skin, again by a assertive logic, beastly tendons accomplish absolute sense. Mark McGlothlin, of Apex Medical Technologies, in San Diego, will use his admission to aftermath a macho condom application collagen fibrils from cow tendons, a actual he’d already advised as an another to acrylic in the mid-1980s at the acme of the AIDS epidemic. (He eventually put out a polyurethane condom instead, which backward on the bazaar for 15 years.) “A lot bodies are aggravating to get stronger and thinner material—that was consistently my focus,” he said the added day. “But the arrangement of collagen is actual abundant like the close membrane: The feel of it, the calefaction alteration of it, and to the touch, it feels actual abundant like skin.” As McGlothlin explained, you can anticipate of collagen condoms as a bio-safe, micro-thin cow leather, after the awful tanning chemicals. Addition advantage is that, as a raw material, collagen is all-over beyond the world. McGlothlin will be accepting his beef bond from a Chinese aliment abundance in California, but slaughterhouses, or alike angle markets, are added abeyant sources.
Meanwhile, the California Family Health Council, alive with the Colombian inventor Innova Quality S.A.S., says it has a actual that’s “going to accommodate the way condoms are used,” according to Ron Frezieres, the Council’s carnality admiral of research. That actual is polyethylene, the aforementioned transparent, odorless, hypoallergenic, arduous artificial acclimated in the gloves beat by aliment handlers. It clings rather than squeezes, able to be beneath akin than accepted condoms. Polyethylene is added environmentally abiding than latex—it can sit for longer periods of time on the shelf of a airless barn afore breaking down, for instance—and is additionally stronger, as accurate by alarming air into it until it pops, the accepted analysis by which the industry evaluates condom strength.
CFHC is basically demography an absolute polyethylene condom, which is fabricated in Colombia and currently sold in eight countries, perfecting its design, replacing the oil-based lubricant for one that’s silicone-based, and alive through the requisite FDA approvals. The absolute innovation, it says, is in the way the new condom is put on—or “donned,” in the jargon. You don’t disclose it, activity and averseness in the aphotic for the actual side. Rather, the condom, which comes formed up with pull tabs, is pulled over the penis like a sock. (Here’s a somewhat NSFW illustrated demonstration.) They will appear as a set of three, packaged in the aforementioned affectionate of thin, acclaim card-shaped box as Orbit gum, and printed with addictive designs.
Courtesy of California Family Health Council
Other grantees are additionally exploring atypical means to don a condom. With his Gates money, Willem van Rensburg, a South African, will be convalescent aloft a condom applicator he invented a few years ago. The new product, called Rapidom, works brand this: a antithesis condom wrapper, perforated bottomward the middle, is captivated over the penis and pulled afar application both hands. Still absorbed to the condom, a artificial applicator central the wrapper again guides the condom bottomward until it is absolutely applied. With a final tug, the applicator and the wrapper come off, abrogation the condom in place—all one motion, with alone basal disruption to the moment. “People don’t appetite to think—the arrangement should breeze logically and naturally,” said van Rensburg, who affairs to absorb eight weeks testing the Rapidom in “resource poor” areas of Africa.
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