Condoms. They're a cheap, effective way of preventing the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. They are also a lot less expensive than raising kids. Why screw with a good thing? Because we can put it in a spray can!
Or at least that's what Pratt Institute design student Michele Chu one day hopes to achieve with Girlplay, a condom company "aimed at bold and daring women."
The spray-on condom is the centerpiece in a "lovers' kit" that Chu one day wants to bring to market. It also includes some traditional condoms in neat packaging, and a remote that Chu hopes will control the condom's effects and flavors and unclasp a bra.
“I thought the condom market needed some refreshing,” Chu told PSFK's design blog. “Condoms look like those little ramen seasoning packets. They’ve just been these square things forever.”
Although it seems like a futuristic idea, other people have proposed a spray-on condom before.
A few years ago, German entrepreneur Jan Vinzenz Krause came close to putting a spray-on condom on the market. While Chu seems bored with the design of the condom, Krause felt it was more an issue of public health. By using the penis as a mold for the condom, a spray-on would better fit men with smaller or unusually-shaped penises.
"The condom fits 100 percent perfectly, so the safety is much higher than a standard condom's, and it feels more natural," Krause told Time in 2008. He said that he'd thought of the idea after students and sex educators talked to him about the need for a better-fitting condom. (He added that as a teenager, he'd also had a hard time finding a condom that was the right size.)
Krause's prototype involved a plastic tube that sprayed liquid latex onto the erect penis from all sides, like a car in a car wash. He said that while some men were apprehensive about putting their penis in the tube, the bigger issue was that the latex took two to three minutes to fully dry.
For what it's worth, Chu's concept shows the the condom emanating from an aerosol spray can, like a spray-on bandage. It's not clear if that's a viable mode of application for a condom.
Krause remained in the condom-making game but abandoned the spray-on, opting instead to sell condoms of different sizes online. It's unclear if the technology has made any headway since then.
Chu and Krause did not immediately return requests for comment.