Trivandrum: The next generation of male contraceptive could be a super-thin, ultra-sensitive condom made by blending latex with graphene. HLL Lifecare Ltd, one of the world’s biggest contraceptive manufacturers, has started working on the next generation condoms at its state-of-the-art Corporate R &D Centre (CRDC), even as accolades came from far and wide, including the Bill and Melinda Foundation, for the new idea.
CRDC has been established with an agenda to identify and adapt/develop new technologies, processes and products in the area of reproductive health. Graphene is a two dimensional material consisting of a single layer of carbon atoms arranged in a honeycomb or chicken wire structure. It is the thinnest stretchable material known and yet is also one of the strongest.
Scientists at HLL want to bring this wonderful material into the intimate life of the people by incorporating graphene into condoms. This will allow to reduce condom thickness from about 0.07 mm currently to less than 0.04 mm, and increase the heat conductivity. It may also be possible to incorporate drugs into the material for reproductive health.
“Our scientist Dr. Lakshminarayanan Regupathy, who worked on this idea, and his team are already into the task,” said HLL CMD, Dr. M Ayyappan. “Our philosophy is to fuse innovation with social commitment. Healthcare is becoming more expensive, much beyond the reach of the common man. In this context, our philosophy is to make high-quality healthcare products affordable to the commoner. That is where our CRDC excels,” he added.
The idea for the next generation condom won the prestigious endorsement from Bill & Melinda Foundation which launched recently a scout for game-changing ideas. Dr. Ragupathy along with team members Dr. A. Kumaran and Dr. G. Rajmohan won $100,000 in funding for this project.
Dr. Ragupathy, who works at CRDC, believes the improved mechanical and thermal properties of the material will result in condoms that are half as thick as those currently in use and provide greater sexual pleasure.
His project is among 11 innovative ideas that were chosen by the Foundation from among 800 applications for the Grand Challenges Exploration (GCE) grant for developing the next generation of condoms. His is the only project from India to win funding in this category; the others are from the UK, US, South Africa and Australia.
Kerala Biz News