Latex condoms have prevented countless pregnancies and blocked millions of people from getting infected by venereal diseases. Still, many people who would be advised to use one during sex refuse to do so because they are not as pleasurable as not wearing them. And so, sexually transmitted diseases spread and unwanted pregnancies are all too common. Now researchers at the University of Wollongong in Australia are developing condoms made out of hydrogels that would be more comfortable and have properties previously impossible with latex condoms.
Hydrogels are biocompatible and can be made to feel very much like natural skin. Moreover, lubricants and drugs can be embedded within the material to be released when put to use. The team just received a $100,000 award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to further develop the hydrogel condoms. Here’s a video from the University of Wollongong with the researchers showing off what they’re working on: