Creators Muaz Nawaz, Daanyaal Ali, and Chirag Shah, from London’s Isaac Newton Academy, wanted to “make detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before” without invasive testing. Their invention, cleverly named the S.T.EYE, nabbed them the top health innovation prize at the city’s TeenTech Awards, which are intended to promote science, engineering, and technology in schools. At the competition, groups of kids ranging in age from 11 to 16 attempt to create “technology to make life better, simpler or easier.”The condom uses a built-in indicator that changes to a different color depending on the bacteria or infection it detects. The students said it may glow green for chlamydia, yellow for herpes, purple for human papillomavirus, or blue for syphilis. Molecules in the condom attach to the bacteria of common STIs, causing the contraception to fluoresce in low light.
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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. It’s also worth noting that the S.T. Eye has yet to actually come to fruition; in fact, a TeenTech representative was careful to say in an email to the Daily Dot that the team’s idea was “very much a concept and… not a finalized design.” All skepticism aside, though, considering the stigma associated with condom use in our society, it’s awesome to see a group of teenage boys trying to make safe sex cool by trying to reimagine the concept behind the traditional barrier method. Especially when most teenage boys are too busy trying to avoid wearing condoms to begin with.
(Tipped by JMG reader Ray)