The Future of the Condom

In conjunction with our Half-Baked Design Challenge to redesign the condom, we look into some fully-baked projects shaping the future of sex.

In the latest installment of our Half-Baked Design Challenge, we gave some of our most creative friends 30 minutes to redesign the modern latex condom. Their solutions are at once absurd, profound, and probably not the answer to all our problems, so we also rounded up the fully-baked ideas at the forefront of this sexy quandary.

Daniel Resnic's Origami Condom

After a broken condom led to his own HIV diagnosis two decades ago, designer Daniel Resnic was inspired to reinvent the condom. He’s been developing his design ever since, and more in-depth research began in ear- nest after a major grant from the National Institute of Health in 2006. The “ORIGAMI Condom,” made of silicone and shaped like an accordion, mimics the feel of the human body. Because the condom moves while staying put at the base, the sensation comes from the inside. Resnic’s ultimate goal is of Holy Grail-like proportions: a condom you can’t feel. It’s also designed to be easier to put on than a rolled condom. Both male and female versions are being testing now, and should be on the market by mid-2015.

University of Washington's Disappearing Condom

This one’s for the ladies. Using electrospinning, a technique that creates nanometer-sized fibers, a group of scientists led by Kim Woodrow at the University of Washington have designed an ultra-thin female condom that can dissolve to release medicine. Drugs that help prevent HIV and provide contraception can be released within minutes or over a number of days, depending how the nano-fabric is designed. The condom can also be used to physically block sperm. Right now, researchers are testing different combina- tions of medicine, and soon will begin larger tests of the most promising variations. Like other female condoms, this design gives women the power to keep themselves healthy.

South African 4:Secs Condom

This condom is similar to others on the inside, but comes with a plastic applicator that splits in half so it can be held in each hand as someone puts it on. The designers listed above say the condom can be applied in three or four seconds—no awkward struggling to open the wrapper, no question about which end is up, and no rolling. It goes on in one swift motion, so the participating parties can cut to the chase. The 4:Secs condom is the brainchild of a South African team, where the Joint United Nations Programme reports that about 10 percent of the population lives with AIDS.

Illustrations by Thomas Porostocky.

via Douglas Muth / Flickr

Sin City is doing something good for its less fortunate citizens as well as those who've broken the law this month. The city of Las Vegas, Nevada will drop any parking ticket fines for those who make a donation to a local food bank.

A parking ticket can cost up to $100 in Las Vegas but the whole thing can be forgiven by bringing in non-perishable food items of equal or greater value to the Parking Services Offices at 500 S. Main Street through December 16.

The program is designed to help the less fortunate during the holidays.

Keep Reading Show less

For more than 20 years. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) has served the citizens of Maine in the U.S. Senate. For most of that time, she has enjoyed a hard-fought reputation as a moderate Republican who methodically builds bridges and consensus in an era of political polarization. To millions of political observers, she exemplified the best of post-partisan leadership, finding a "third way" through the static of ideological tribalism.

However, all of that has changed since the election of Donald Trump in 2016. Voters in Maine, particularly those who lean left, have run out of patience with Collins and her seeming refusal to stand up to Trump. That frustration peaked with the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

Keep Reading Show less
via / Flickr and Dimitri Rodriguez / Flickr

Bernie Sanders' presidential campaign looks to be getting a huge big shot in the arm after it's faced some difficulties over the past few weeks.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading voice in the Democratic parties progressive, Democratic Socialist wing, is expected to endorse Sanders' campaign at the "Bernie's Back" rally in Queens, New York this Saturday.

Fellow member of "the Squad," Ilhan Omar, endorsed him on Wednesday.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by HAL9001 on Unsplash

The U.K. is trying to reach its goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, but aviation may become the biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.K. by that same year. A new study commissioned by the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) and conducted at the Imperial College London says that in order for the U.K. to reach its target, aviation can only see a 25% increase, and they've got a very specific recommendation on how to fix it: Curb frequent flyer programs.

Currently, air travel accounts for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions, however that number is projected to increase for several reasons. There's a growing demand for air travel, yet it's harder to decarbonize aviation. Electric cars are becoming more common. Electric planes, not so much. If things keep on going the way they are, flights in the U.K. should increase by 50%.

Nearly every airline in the world has a frequent flyer program. The programs offer perks, including free flights, if customers get a certain amount of points. According to the study, 70% of all flights from the U.K. are taken by 15% of the population, with many people taking additional (and arguably unnecessary) flights to "maintain their privileged traveler status."

Keep Reading Show less
The Planet