Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Medicine Technology

Using Nanotechnology To Build Thinner, Stronger Condoms 253

Posted by samzenpus
from the making-it-better dept.
Hugh Pickens DOT Com writes "Discovery Magazine reports that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has granted $100,000 to Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) and Boston Medical Center (BMC) to develop a nanoparticle coating for condoms that will make them more comfortable and stronger while simultaneously keeping them thin to preserve – and increase – sensation in order to make them more appealing to use. According to the Gates Foundation, in the time that condoms have been in use, not much has changed: '[Condoms] have undergone very little technological improvement in the past 50 years. The primary improvement has been the use of latex as the primary material and quality-control measures, which allow for quality testing of each individual condom. Material science and our understanding of neurobiology has undergone revolutionary transformation in the last decade, yet that knowledge has not been applied to improve the product attributes of one of the most ubiquitous and potentially underutilized products on earth.' The nanotechnology that the Boston doctors intend to use for their improved condoms will be superhydrophillic nanoparticles that coat the condom and trap water to make them more resilient and easier to use. 'We believe that by altering the mechanical forces experienced by the condom, we may ultimately be able to make a thinner condom which reduces friction, thereby reducing discomfort associated with friction increases pleasure, thereby increasing condom use and decreases rates of unwanted pregnancy and infection transmission.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Using Nanotechnology To Build Thinner, Stronger Condoms

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Now you know, ladies.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:44PM (#45943811)

    News for nerds.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Thinner, Stronger Condoms:
      Stuff that matters.

      Condoms:
      News for nerds.

    • Apparently all the jokes about Micro-soft were actually Chinese whispers of Nano-hard.
  • Reduced Friction? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:44PM (#45943815)

    Isn't friction what generates sensation? That's part of the problem with condoms now, no feeling.

    • Re:Reduced Friction? (Score:5, Informative)

      by BringsApples (3418089) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:55PM (#45943967)
      Not completely. Condoms squeeze the guy, sometimes (depending on girth) causing complete loss of sensation (much like cutting off the blood from you foot or arm). This same squeezing also causes less, how shall I say it, 'back-and-forth' of the skin on the penis. I don't know what the sensation is like for women, but they seem to hate them as much as men.
      • This is what Trojan Magnums are for.
        • Those can be tight for some men also. Penises do not come in 2 sizes (regular and magnum). BTW, magnum condoms aren't very much wider than "regular" sized condoms, and seem to stretch even less.
      • by Antipater (2053064) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:09PM (#45944173)

        Condoms squeeze the guy, sometimes (depending on girth) causing complete loss of sensation (much like cutting off the blood from you foot or arm).

        This is important. I hope, while they're redesigning the materials, they also do something to combat the "one size fits all" myth of modern condoms. Many people's aversion to condoms are a result of a size mismatch. Penises come in many different sizes, not just "regular" and "magnum", so what's comfortable for one man may not be for another. A condom that's too tight can cut off all sensation, while a condom that's too loose can slip or tear. Nobody advertises one-size-fits-all running shoes, but one-size-fits-all condoms are our only option. I hope Mr. Gates works to fix that as well.

        • Re:Reduced Friction? (Score:4, Informative)

          by poetmatt (793785) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:21PM (#45944323) Journal

          "one size fits all" myth of modern condoms

          This doesn't exist. Condoms come in multiple sizes, and anyone who thinks there is a one size fits all is actually very misinformed about condoms.

          • by Anonymous Coward

            Multiple sizes come in condoms! ....I'll get my coat....

        • by Jamie Ian Macgregor (3389757) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:21PM (#45944325)
          you'll need an outlet store with a computerised fitting system by the sounds of it. here, poke your member in this hole while we 3d scan it. oh, and watch this porn.
        • by barlevg (2111272) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:22PM (#45944329)
          this, I think, is more of a societal issue: not many men are going to feel comfortable going to the convenience store and checking out with a box of "size smalls." Shopping on the internet is an option, I guess, but do you really want Amazon knowing your penis size? I can just imagine the targeted advertisements on BOTH ends of the spectrum.
          • by cayenne8 (626475)

            this, I think, is more of a societal issue: not many men are going to feel comfortable going to the convenience store and checking out with a box of "size smalls." Shopping on the internet is an option, I guess, but do you really want Amazon knowing your penis size? I can just imagine the targeted advertisements on BOTH ends of the spectrum.

            Easy solution. Have her get on the pill, and make sure she takes it like she's supposed to (those "I can't remember if I took it" scares suck!!).

          • by spasm (79260)

            Wasn't there a story about a propaganda stunt during WWII involving "accidentally" dropping comfort & care supplies intended for one's own troops on the enemy; the care packages contained boxes labeled 'Standard size condoms' containing extra extra large size condoms?

          • by SpankiMonki (3493987) on Monday January 13, 2014 @05:14PM (#45944833)

            ...not many men are going to feel comfortable going to the convenience store and checking out with a box of "size smalls."

            You're right! Small condoms should be labeled "Tall", with larger sizes labeled "Grande", "Venti", and "Trenta".

            I bet they could charge a lot more for condoms if they did that.

          • Get rid of the texutal label (small, medium, large, etc) and replace it with a numerical circumference.

            e.g.
            3"
            3.5"
            4"
            4.5"
            5"
            5.5"
            6"

            Then you can find the right size for you. Kind of like shoe size.

            • by Zynder (2773551) on Monday January 13, 2014 @09:35PM (#45946977)
              Won't work. This falls into a category woman deal with all the time. In order to psychologically attract a buyer, many companies will sell tent size dresses that are only a size 6. No 2 company's size 6 will be the same either so it makes fitting a chore. A man with a small penis who's self conscious about it will not buy a 3", he'll want the 12" (even though it is actually a 3) and you'll find companies who will advertise "Our size 6's are bigger than all the competition!" And when I started typing this I intended to make it funny, but now that it's time for the punchline, I got nothing...much like my nonexistent penis.....sigh....
        • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:37PM (#45944467)

          Strangers in the night, exchanging rubbers.

          This ones much too tight, I need another.

          This ones much too loose, I'm losing all my juice.

        • Re:Reduced Friction? (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DigiShaman (671371) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:43PM (#45944517) Homepage

          A condom that's too tight can cut off all sensation, while a condom that's too loose can slip or tear. Nobody advertises one-size-fits-all running shoes, but one-size-fits-all condoms are our only option.

          Length isn't usually an issue (for most men) as can you roll as much as needed to the base. But as you've pointed out, girth is. The girth of a man's member can dynamically change based on arousal and any length of time. So while that "magnum" may feel right now, it can become loose later before climax has been reached. It's already an issue having to interrupt the moment to roll on a rubber, but having to choose which size works best depending on the mood already kills it.

          Preventing pregnancy aside, smart phones with terahertz scanning capability (say 6 years from now) might be able to detect STDs and other blood related issues in the future. Essentially a Tricorder that's not a medical device, but just as damn near as good. So if you're clean, and she's clean, to hell with the condom. Have fun! Just be sure to scan well before the mood sets in. Personally, i've never been promiscuous and trust is always important to me (I'm married). So all that technology is a moot point as far as i'm concerned.

        • Custom condoms exist (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There already are different sizes condoms based on your measurements (96 available sizes). They-Fit is the brand and they have an on-line store (European company).

          I have tried them and they are pretty much spot on :-).
          Their largest size makes Magnum look like a condom for mice. And their smallest size goes to well veeery small.

          • Yeah, I've heard good things about TheyFit. The problem is they're not allowed to sell to/in the US (FDA regulations or some such thing; I didn't look at the details). Your average convenience store shelf (at least everywhere I've lived) has only standard and magnum. So I wish success upon TheyFit, and I hope other, similar companies start up, and I think Mr. Gate's money could have some weight in starting that.
            • by stoploss (2842505)

              Yeah, I've heard good things about TheyFit. The problem is they're not allowed to sell to/in the US (FDA regulations or some such thing; I didn't look at the details). Your average convenience store shelf (at least everywhere I've lived) has only standard and magnum. So I wish success upon TheyFit, and I hope other, similar companies start up, and I think Mr. Gate's money could have some weight in starting that.
              --
              Everything is better with chainsaws.

              Just FYI, your sig is particularly disturbing in this context.

          • Their largest size makes Magnum look like a condom for mice.

            Ah yes, the "Splatterhorn" with liter capacity reservoir.

        • If history has shown us anything, based on experiences from Microsoft products, Mr. Gates' condoms will come in only one size -- Mr. Gates' size. And you'd better be happy with that.

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          Right, and you head into the drug store as a teenager to get your first fitting.

      • ... for women, but they seem to hate them as much as men.

        Umm . . . not true. Some things are better if they take longer. And you can get textured condoms which are more effective.

    • Re:Reduced Friction? (Score:5, Informative)

      by QilessQi (2044624) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:15PM (#45944251)

      It depends on whose sensation we're talking about. :-) The wearer should experience almost no friction from the latex itself, since it's supposed to stay more-or-less in place. But the latex is thin enough that he can sense the temperature and "grip" of his partner, which is probably the primary stimulating sensation for him.

      His partner, on the other hand, would certainly experience friction from the latex, which is one reason you should use lube with condoms -- too much friction, and thrusting becomes difficult for the pair and especially irritating (or painful) for the person being penetrated. That leads to irritation, soreness, and an eventual halting of adult activities.

      (PSA: Make sure to choose the right lube for the condom you use -- some lubes will cause the material of the condom to fail, which leads to babies, and possibly also a halting of adult activities. But also talk to your partner -- certain women report high incidents of yeast infections after using certain types of lube.)

      So I can see a thinner, lower-friction condom being a boon for both partners, as it would increase sensation for both, and also lead to fewer incidents of vaginal/anal tearing from friction, which are not only not fun but which also which increase risk of STD transmission.

      • ...he can sense the temperature and "grip" of his partner

        Stewie: So, is there any tread left on the tires? Or at this point would it be like throwing a hot dog down a hallway?

        • by QilessQi (2044624)

          I see your Stewie, and raise with Stewie and Brian:

          Stewie: So you finally did it, huh? Well look, Brian, as your friend I should tell you that that vagina is just ground zero, man. I mean, I just wrecked that thing on the way out. And just to be a jerk, I carved "Brooks Was Here" on the wall. Did you see that? Did you see "Brooks Was Here"?
          Brian: We didn't have sex.
          Stewie: Of course with Chris coming out before me, I pretty much just walked outta there. Didn't even have to stoop over. There was even room

      • Additional caution: Some people are allergic to lube, especially anyone known to have allergies to antibiotics - even the supposedly hypoallergenic stuff has preservative.
    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      Condoms, even the bare skin types still take some sensation out. For me its the tight fit that squeezes my member a bit too much. I'm no long dong silver but I do have a thick johnson so the condoms I have tried don't feel right.

      I will admit, with my past few GF's I have only used a condom a handful of times when we first start having sex. After that it becomes very spontaneous and none of us always had one on hand. So we start barebacking from there on out. Pregnancy is prevented the old fashioned way, pul

  • by squidflakes (905524) on Monday January 13, 2014 @03:48PM (#45943869) Homepage

    How long before we're hiring kids to go pick up nano pore condoms off the beach so we can recycle them in to materials to keep the nanobots off our lawns?

    Probably never, but I finally get to make the reference!

    • How long before we're hiring kids to go pick up nano pore condoms off the beach so we can recycle them in to materials to keep the nanobots off our lawns?

      Probably never, but I finally get to make the reference!

      It's probably because I just finished Snow Crash last week, but when I read the headline I envisioned the scene where dread pirate Bruce Lee is randomly inspecting his men's condoms prior to mass-buggering Hiro.

      I wonder how Neil Stephenson would feel if he knew that articles about scientific innovation in the field of fucking invoked thoughts of his writings...

      • by jeffmeden (135043)

        How long before we're hiring kids to go pick up nano pore condoms off the beach so we can recycle them in to materials to keep the nanobots off our lawns?

        Probably never, but I finally get to make the reference!

        It's probably because I just finished Snow Crash last week, but when I read the headline I envisioned the scene where dread pirate Bruce Lee is randomly inspecting his men's condoms prior to mass-buggering Hiro.

        I wonder how Neil Stephenson would feel if he knew that articles about scientific innovation in the field of fucking invoked thoughts of his writings...

        Not as bad as Neal Stephenson would feel (ducks)

        • I wonder how Neil Stephenson would feel...

          Not as bad as Neal Stephenson would feel (ducks)

          You know the worst part? I bothered to spell check the last name.

  • Hopefully superhydrophillic nanoparticles will not cause allergic reactions in some women, like latex does.
  • ... my nanotechnology in the extra large size.

  • for my size please. eeeehhhh....WTF!!!
  • I AM wearing one. It's just the new Nanotech ones, that are so thin you can't see it!
    It's also super-micro-coated so it doesn't hurt regardless of what we do!
    You trust me, right?

    [In passing, condoms have been used for centuries. It's latex ones that are only a few decades old]

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I think you mean polyurethane are a few decades old(invented in the 1990's). Latex are almost 100 years old(invented in 1920ish).

  • Real cowboys ride bareback!
  • What could possibly go wrong?
  • Really?

    Still not one Seven of Nine joke yet? Slashdoters, yer slipping.

  • by tekrat (242117) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:53PM (#45944615) Homepage Journal

    A product that 99% of slashdotters will never get to use, despite the coolness of it being nano-technology. Then again, 99% of slashdotters don't get to use supercomputers either, but Slashdot reports on them. Maybe when we get sex robots, but then again you really don't need a condom for a machine unlikely to get pregnant.

  • by ugen (93902) on Monday January 13, 2014 @04:57PM (#45944669)

    While they are at it, could they please make condoms biodegradable. After plastic bags, condoms are probably one of the worst culprits in terms of emitting plastic into the ocean and nature (unlike plastic bags, condoms are often flushed down the toilet).

    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      Latex, being a biological product does biodegade, it just does so slowly.

      Rubber, produced from petroleum, is not biodegradable.

      Most condoms are latex.

      • Latex, being a biological product does biodegade, it just does so slowly.

        Rubber, produced from petroleum, is not biodegradable.

        Most condoms are latex.

        Actually, rubber comes from the rubber tree -- and vulcanized rubber isn't very biodegradable as it has been chemically altered. Latex is just a product name for the type of rubber extracted from a particular rubber tree. Unvulcanized rubber is biodegradable, but is also prone to tears, so most rubber is vulcanized. You probably wouldn't want a non-vulcanized condom.

        Petroleum-based alternatives are things like polyeurethane, which is a less-popular alternative to Latex.

  • by hawkfish (8978) on Monday January 13, 2014 @05:15PM (#45944859) Homepage

    Isn't this what the "wearable computing" poll was all about?

  • Bill Gates should use some of that clout of his to actually so some good re: condoms.

    First, get on the phone and blast that mysogynistic virgin running the Catholic Church and make him promote condom use, especially in Africa. Then get US teens some proper, frank, honest and mandatory sex ed classes with all the gory details so that you combat the US having the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world, according the the Center for Disease Control, who notes that 30% of women below age 20 g

  • I sense a superhero origin story in this. Part-human, part-nanobot.

  • After all, we tell our students these days that condoms are less than 50% effective. Why bother making a better one when we're telling people not to use them?
  • This article will probably only be applicable to about .01% of the users of this website...
  • $100,000 is only 200 girl/hours in Back Bay Boston. Are you sure that that is enough research? It would probably buy more research in Africa, but you better be sure that they work before you do any advanced research there.

    Speaking from one girl to another, are you sure that all your gentleman callers actually know that the lube goes on the !inside! of the condom? And that if they are using gelatin based lube like KY that they need to add 3-4 drops of water to a toothbrush-sized dab of K

    • by vakuona (788200)

      I like how people think that Africans only disobey the Pope when it comes to condom use, but not when it comes to the actual having of sex.

      Seriously! The reason that condoms are not used as much in Africa have to do with the fact that the people are so poor they generally can't afford them. That, and Africa is nominally a very conservative place (when it comes to sex) which means people are just not too likely to go buying them, especially if they are very poor and live in communities where all the shopkeep

  • The nanotechnology that the Boston doctors intend to use for their improved condoms will be superhydrophillic nanoparticles that coat the condom and trap water to make them more resilient and easier to use.

    Umm...am I the only one that envisioned an instant Slim Jim after putting one of these puppies on?

    Also, if these things are 'trapping water', won't they, erm, 'swell' with use? Where does the trapped water go?

    "Mmmm...leathery...and yet strangely rubbery at the same time!"

  • Company with failed product tries to save itself by releasing more of the same

    MS has missed the bandwagon, once again, but unlike the other big blunders (*cough* Internet *cough*), this time there are powerful and more importantly, wealthy, competitors around to take advantage of it.

    • by Tom (822)

      lol, wrong article. I don't think that's ever happened to me in... uh... almost 20 years of /. ?

  • I think what would really sell are condoms for women who don't like to give give blowjobs, such that:
    - It was acceptable for a (condom-wearing) man to ejaculate in her mouth, and
    - It was a worthwhile experience for the man.

    If that problem could be solved by a condom design, sales would go through the roof, especially for married couples.

  • 'We believe that by altering the mechanical forces experienced by the condom, we may ultimately be able to make a thinner condom which reduces friction, thereby reducing discomfort associated with friction increases pleasure, thereby increasing condom use and decreases rates of unwanted pregnancy and infection transmission.'"

    Run on sentence, and not taken from the link inside the quote.

    Pickens, you're a hack.

  • and rubbers weren't invented.
    they tied a sock around their cock,
    and babies were prevented.

    If it was good enough for my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, granddad, it's good enough for me.

  • The Micro Soft condom: snugger and with a built-in Viagra(tm) coating... :P

  • This is a training project for some medical residents which has been repackaged into a press release. As a training and exposure project, it's great, BUSM is going to learn a bunch. Maybe they'll publish something, but don't expect anything else.

    As a vehicle to get Gates Foundation and University of Manchester a bunch of press, it's ... ugh, disappointing. This is what they want to spend their money and prestige on?

    $100k isn't close to realistic for a real applied nanomaterial R&D project. Running a

I am here by the will of the people and I won't leave until I get my raincoat back. - a slogan of the anarchists in Richard Kadrey's "Metrophage"

Working...