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The Gates Foundation Is Betting Big On Better Condoms

Will Federman |
November 20, 2013 | 11:53 a.m. PST

Tech Editor

Super condoms might use graphene to thwart STDs from bananas. (Wikimedia/Bpenn005)
Super condoms might use graphene to thwart STDs from bananas. (Wikimedia/Bpenn005)

Picking a condom might be a lot more difficult than choosing from lambskin, latex and polysioprene pretty soon.

The Telegraph is reporting that researchers at the University of Manchester are in the process of developing a new type of condom with graphene - a material first discovered in 2004 by Nobel Prize laureates Sir Andrew Geim and Sir Kostya Novoselov.

Graphene could create thinner, lighter and more transparent condoms, but more importantly, the material is significantly more durable than traditional latex condoms. The possible benefits in curtailing the spread of AIDS are easy to imagine.

The team from Manchester was awarded a $100,000 grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to forward its condom research. The nonprofit organization has also doled out over a million dollars to other research teams in a philanthropic effort to thwart sexually transmitted diseases by advancing condom technology.

The hope is that graphene condoms will make sex more pleasurable and increase condom usage amongst males.

"[Graphene] will be tailored to enhance the enhance the natural sensation during intercourse while using a condom, which should encourage and promote condom use," Aravind Viyaraghavan, a materials scientist from the University of Manchester, told The Telegraph.

A most excellent application of science.

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