"Condoms have been in use for about 400 years yet they have undergone very little technological improvement in the past 50 years," according to the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, which has launched the "Next Generation of Condom" challenge.
One of the biggest names in philanthropy is offering potentially more than a $1 million to build a better condom.
The Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative, backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, launched the "Next Generation of Condom" challenge this month.
While condoms are recognized and available around the world, there is a major drawback that hinders consistent use, according to the initiative: "…condoms decrease pleasure as compared to no condom, creating a trade-off that many men find unacceptable, particularly given that the decisions about use must be made just prior to intercourse."
The goal of the project is to build a condom that "significantly preserves or enhances pleasure."
By building a more desirable condom, the initiative believes there's potential to dramatically increase use of the contraceptive worldwide, helping curb unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.
The Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative offers initial grants of $100,000 with the potential for a follow-up grant of up to $1 million.
Applications for the "Next Generation of Condom" challenge are due May 7, 2013.