What’s the next iteration?

bottle openerAround 30,000 years ago we started making lots more stuff. And we’ve been at it ever since.

Back then, the big jump in making stuff consisted of cave painting, jewelry, burial ceremonies, and the like. Nowadays we’re up to making jets and computers.

Most things humans make are iterations of stuff that came before, like the bottle opener pictured here. There’s a magnet to hold it to your fridge door and another magnet to capture the cap. It’s clever and different looking, but ultimately it’s another iteration of a thing that open bottles.

I happened upon this story lately while thinking about the stuff humans make.

Bill and Melinda Gates, through their foundation, are offering a reward for making a better condom! That’s right, better condoms.

They mean making a better condom in the sense that it’ll feel better to users so people will begin using them more.

When your sink is overflowing onto the floor, instead of starting to mop up the mess, it’s smarter to get to the root of the problem by shutting off the water. If more people used condoms, disease and population increases would both be prevented greatly, reducing the potential cost of both. Get at the source of the problem.

Condoms in some form have been in use for many hundreds of years and have been in their current form for decades. Almost everything humans make continually builds on earlier iterations. Maybe it’s time for the next generation of condom.

There’s $100,000 of grant money available to back a prototype “that significantly preserves or enhances pleasure…” This is to overturn the commonly held perception that condoms decrease pleasure, even though it’s common for people to not realize when a condom breaks in the middle of the act – so it really is only a misconception that condoms reduce sensation, but that misperception is there unfortunately.

But that’s not all. There’s also $1 million more available for the next phase if the first prototypes meet the criteria for a better condom.

Hopefully someone is able to get rich on the next iteration.