News & Views
The future of family planning

If there’s one thing you can be sure of in the tech world, it’s that the more advanced the technology is, the stranger the solution is likely to be. As the debate around access to contraception becomes increasingly heated in certain parts of the world, birth control boffins have made it their business to come up with new and ever innovative ways to play safe.

Remote Control Contraceptives

Massachusetts start-up MicroCHIPS has produced a remote controlled implant which can be placed beneath the skin and instructed to deliver drugs such as hormonal birth control into your system. Current versions of the device have been designed to last up to sixteen years, and the MIT engineers responsible for creating it are working to secure FDA approval in order to get it to market by 2018.

Access to affordable contraception in the developing world is a major issue, and the science behind MicroCHIPS could make a huge difference. The Sino-Implant (II) is another option; comprised of two tiny rods containing the birth control hormone levonorgestrel, it is a new twist on the traditional implant, and has been made with “resource-limited settings” in mind, and is available for less than $8.

Origami Condoms

Yes, you read that correctly. Origami, the ancient and sacred Japanese art of paper folding, has now been applied to that other ancient and sacred art. The Californian company Origami Condoms gained global attention and acclaim when it responded to a 2013 challenge by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to create “the next generation of condoms”. The unorthodox proposal recognised that there was a definite widespread reluctance to wear the traditional male condom, largely caused by the belief that it reduces sensation – Origami overcame this by creating a product which actually increases pleasure, thus incentivising safe sex.

And then there are “L.” condoms, which are made from biodegradable latex and sold in recyclable packaging. Founded by photojournalist Talia Frenkel, L. does its bit in the fight against HIV and AIDS by donating one condom to the developing world for each one that it sells in the US and Canada. As L.’s motto indicates, it is Frenkel’s hope that her company will help people have literally “world-changing sex.”

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