Science Nice Time, kind of! Three English teenagers have invented -- well, at least done the groundwork for -- a condom that changes color when it comes into contact with common sexually transmitted diseases. Cool! Also, Ick! But Cool!


Students from England’s Isaac Newton Academy have created a concept for a smart condom that would alter its luminescent hue when exposed to common STDs. There would be antibodies on the condom that would interact with the antigens of STDs, causing the condom to change colors depending on the disease.

For instance, if the condom were exposed to chlamydia, it might glow green — or yellow for herpes, purple for human papillomavirus and blue for syphilis.

Daanyaal Ali, 14, Muaz Nawaz, 13, and Chirag Shah, 14, call their concept the S.T. EYE. Get it?

The condom concept won Tuesday's annual UK TeenTech Awards, a national competition to see who can come up with a science idea that is both innovative and likely to make adult judges try hard not to smirk (we admit we may only have skimmed the "about" page). The kids won a bunch of crazy British money and a trip to meet Prince Andrew at Buckingham Palace. The Washington Post can't resist noting that "It is unclear whether they’ll present their condom project to the queen." We say go for it, guys, just keep your hands off Her Majesty's Royal Nuts.

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And what was the inspiration for this inventive concept?

“We knew that STIs were a huge problem in the U.K.,” Daanyaal told The Washington Post. “We saw a gap in the market and we wanted to help people feel safer.”

Granted, TeenTech chief executive Maggie Philbin said it is only a concept for now.

“I think the reason the judges put this idea first was because the project showed how much learning these boys had done while researching STDs,” she told The Post.

Even better, we're betting there's a Social Psychology Prize in store for anyone who may have done a detailed observation of the lads' research process; a paper measuring the frequency of uncontrollable giggles among adolescent boys researching condoms would be a surefire winner.

As E.J Dickson (snrk!!!) noted at The Daily Dot, there are still some unanswered questions about how exactly these de-tect-o condoms would work:

It’s unclear as to whether the condom detects both the wearer’s and the recipient’s STI statuses, or just the recipient’s. If the latter, that poses some obvious concerns for heterosexual women or gay men who take a passive role during sex.

And what about the ladies? Would they be forced to fall back on more traditional means of screening for STD risk, like checking whether their partner went to high school in Texas?

Clearly, there is more work to do. And snickering adolescents are the prefect people to do it.

[WaPo / Daily Dot]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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