In 2015 an eye-catching story about the award-winning creative idea of three teens in England: condoms that change color when they detect a sexually transmitted infection had many raising eyebrows.
Time reported that three British teens, two 14-year-olds and one 13-year-old—have proposed an idea for a new type of condom that could detect sexually transmitted diseases amongst intimate partners.
The proposal won the trio the top prize in the U.K.’s TeenTech Awards, and they have already reportedly been approached by condom companies.
Young people who do not like using condoms during sexual intercourse are the main cause behind high rate of unwanted babies and the spread of sexual transmitted infections such as HIV.
This new condom could potentially reduce the amount of people getting sexually transmitted infections.
According to Tara Haelle a Pharma and Healthcare Contributor at Forbes the boys based their idea off a common testing method that’s been in use for decades, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA, reported the BBC. Already used in STI tests such as those for HIV and herpes, an ELISA uses enzymes that change color when both the antibody you’re looking for and a third chemical are added.
"At first blush, the concept sounds pretty creative: find out instantly when it matters most that you’re carrying a bacterial or viral infection. But despite headlines like “Teens invent color-changing condoms to warn of STDs” at CBS News, the three boys, Daanyaal Ali, 14, Chirag Shah, 14, and Muaz Nawaz, 13, of Isaac Newton Academy in London, did not invent an STI-testing condom any more than H.G. Wells invented a time machine. Their idea is currently just that – a concept – and with current technology, it’s a scientifically implausible one. It’s also pretty problematic in terms of ethics and the messy realities of human communication and relationships," reported Forbes.