It's so thin it set records. A Chinese company has created the world's thinnest latex condom, snagging the Guinness World Record for the barely-there rubber.
The so-called Aoni condom measures just 0.0014 inches (0.036 millimeters) thick, beating the previous record-holder, Okamoto of Japan, reported The Province. The ultra-thin condom was manufactured by Guangzhou Daming United Rubber Products, a China-based company that produces roughly 200 million condoms annually.
Currently, the Aoni is available only in Asia, but Victor Chan, who led the project, is eventually hoping to introduce the product to North American markets. He said the design process for the thin but durable Aoni condom was challenging. [6 (Other) Great Things Sex Can Do For You]
"It was quite tricky," Chan told The Province. "It took a lot of work to arrange the right mix and fine-tune the ingredients to give us the right performance."
Chan is also working on developing a vibrating condom that targets a woman's G-spot and a sanitizing condom that is coated in silver nanoparticles, reported The Province.
Innovations in condom technology have gained traction lately. Last year, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation pledged funding for research into the development of new condoms that are more pleasurable to wear. The initiative aims to lower rates of unplanned pregnancies and reduce the spread of sexually transmitted diseases by making improvements to condoms and encouraging more people to use them.
One such project, led by researchers at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, is attempting to use stretchy materials known as superelastomers to make condoms thinner. Another project, led by scientists at the University of Manchester in the U.K., is mixing latex with graphene — a form of carbon that has been dubbed a "super material" — to create condoms that are thinner, stronger and more elastic.
Both projects have received $100,000 from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
In 2012, Planned Parenthood launched an initiative during National Condom Week to track the use of protection across western Washington state. Local Planned Parenthood chapters visited college and university campuses and distributed 55,000 condoms with QR (or Quick Response) printed on the packaging. Users were then invited to scan the codes with a smartphone after using the protection to "check in" anonymously on a map of safe sex.
In addition to more serious efforts, some innovators have taken to flexing their creative muscles when introducing new condom products. Last year, J & D's Foods, headquartered in Seattle, unveiled its bacon condom, which is patterned to resemble a slab of bacon and is flavored with the company's Baconlube.