Practicing safe sex usually means using a condom and knowing a little bit about your partner, but there is no guarantee that you won’t come in contact with a sexually transmitted infection (STI). Leave it to a few teenage boys at Isaac Newton Academy in east London to figure out when you need to put your clothes back on and run far away.
The S.T.EYE condom will turn colors when it comes into contact with infections such as chlamydia and syphilis. Still in the concept stage, this idea comes from Daanyaal Ali, 14; Muaz Nawaz, 13; and Chirag Shah, 14; and was good enough to win a £1,000 ($1,568) prize in the Future of Health category at the TeenTech Awards.
How it works: The condom has a layer of antibodies that interact with the antigens of sexual diseases. If contacted by an STI, the reaction will cause the rubber sheath to change colors. Green would indicate chlamydia, while yellow is for herpes, and blue for syphilis. The condom will also likely detect human papillomavirus, which causes genital warts.
More importantly, the color changing abilities will work on both sides of the condom, which means it can detect STIs from either partner.
“We created the S.T.EYE as a new way for STI detection to help the future of the next generation,” Ali said. “We wanted to make something that made detecting harmful STIs safer than ever before, so that people can take immediate action in the privacy of their own homes without the often-scary procedures at the doctors. We’ve made sure we’re able to give peace of mind to users and let people act even more responsibly than ever before.”
According to TeenTech CEO Maggie Philbin, the S.T.EYE condoms are only at the concept stage, but the boys say they have been contacted by a condom company to hopefully bring it from concept to reality.