June 25, 2015 weblog
UK youths win for color-changing condom to recognize STIs
Here is an idea: condoms that change color when they come in contact with STIs. That is the idea from three students in the UK attending the Isaac Newton Academy in Ilford. They developed their idea into a contest entry and they won in the "Healthcare Category" in theTeen Tech Awards. Their concept is called "S.T.EYE."
Daily Mail and other sites this week reported that the material turns green if in the presence of chlamydia. Yellow indicates herpes. Purple indicates HPV (human papillomavirus) and blue, syphilis.
The three inventors are 13-to-14 year olds. Daanyaal Ali, Chirag Shah, and Muaz Nawaz hoped their invention can help the future of the next generation. Their prize includes cash and a trip to Buckingham Palace.
In a report from BBC Newsbeat, Daanyaal said that "Once the [bodily] fluids come into contact with the latex, if the person does have some sort of STI, it will cause a reaction through antibodies and antigens hanging on to each other, which triggers an antibody reaction causing a color change."
The Isaac Newton Academy Academy had earlier explained what the Awards were all about and talked about the students' efforts: The TeenTech Awards is a competition open to students from Years 7 to 11. The students are challenged to come up with an idea that can make life easier or better. The focus may be on energy, wearable technology, retail and finance, design and construction, infrastructure, or other types of industry. The "STEM Club – which in most schools focuses on making links between Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, and, at INA, makes room for English too – seemed like the perfect place for students to have a go at doing this for the first time," said the school.
The students worked in teams of up to three. Projects completed in preparation for the competition included a shower that monitors and regulates water usage, a phone-charging jacket, a cooker hood that would capture and store energy released by steam when cooking, security tracking devices, and swimming goggles that monitor the user's in-water exercise and safety.
The school acknowledged that the condom project idea "was perhaps a little more risqué," but the school stated that "the originality of their product, and the quality of the design work that went into its promotion, clearly stood out amongst entries from more than 500 other students in the UK and caught the judge's eye, taking them through to the final."
Muaz said in the BBC report that they worried over pitching it in the first place; they thought they would get in trouble. "Even though it's a serious topic, [we were worried] some people would think we were taking it as a joke." The boys said they wanted to help because STIs [sexually transmitted infections] affect many people. Fortunately, their science teacher did not take it as a joke; he told them instead about antibodies and antigens.
"People find it embarrassing to go to the clinic so this makes sure that their privacy is maintained," although they would still have to go to the clinic for treatment, Ali said in CNN.
The team was judged by Dr Christian Jessen. They spent the day talking to people from across the world, said the TeenTech Awards site.
As their work is still in concept stage, they said in the BBC report that they would like to work with a university on the science; they also said they were contacted by a condom company interested in working with them on developing the concept further.
TeenTech runs events with a supporting Award scheme, focused on young teenagers. Interestingly, one of the shortlisted ideas was an app that calculates the monetary value of household chores.
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