Image credit: Flickr/OnInnovation

Bill Gates is financing the invention of a condom people actually want to wear

The Microsoft founder has turned his attentions away from technology and towards a more... sensitive problem.

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 24 Nov 2014

Bill Gates is the man who gave us Windows, so he knows a thing or two about inventing. Since he retired, his focus has changed to solving the world's problems: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has provided funding for everything from drugs for HIV to education initiatives.

But late last year Gates' attentions turned to an even chewier issue: the invention of a condom that people don't actually mind wearing. His foundation provided $100,000 (£59,500) for each of 11 groups trying to create the ultimate prophylactic. Among the projects were a 'self-tightening condom' (sounds painful), one that mimics the body's mucous membranes (sounds gross) and, of course, one made from graphene. Because one day, everything will be made from graphene.

During a Q&A session on Reddit back in February, Gates said it was a 'sensitive topic' (arf, arf), but pointed out that this is all part of the noble quest to eliminate HIV.

Anyway, one of the projects that received funding, at the University of Wollongong (which somehow sounds appropriate), published a video this week showing the progress of its 'hydro-gel' condom. THe material is designed to be tougher than latex, and behave more like skin. If the Gates like the project, it'll get $1m in funding - and, presumably, naming rights. MT will go out on a limb and suggest any name resembling 'Microsoft' probably won't cut it.

Here's the video in full. Warning: video contains phallic objects. May result in giggling...

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