The birth control pill liberated sexuality in the western world, while sexually transmitted diseases rolled it back considerably. A new device, in the form of a ring, is being developed that may offer a new level of safety for couples wanting to hook up.
The Hoope ring is a microfluidic device that has four separate chambers each filled with antigens related to syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis. A small needle on the inside penetrates the finger and draws a sample of blood. If antibodies produced by the immune system that target the four diseases are present within the blood, the antigens cling to them and produce a reaction that can be detected within the ring.
The team behind the Hoope ring has worked with researchers at Colorado State University and showed that the device can detect syphilis. The next step is to do the same for the three other targeted diseases before bringing it to market, and also moving to adapting the technology for spotting other diseases.