A South African condom applicator (a device designed to put a condom on a human penis with ease) working in less than three seconds has been called the "most beautiful object" at a design show in Cape Town by Dutch designer Jurgen Bey.
The plastic condom applicator was selected as the top prize at the Design Indaba Beautiful Objects Exposition in the tourist resort city, out of a shortlist of 15 products, including an ultra-modern pre-fabricated house.
The applicator is the invention of Willem van Rensburg and was designed by industrial designer Roelf Mulder
of South Africa's XYZ Design, with the goal of an easy and rapid application of the condom.
The user holds the applicator with the thumb and forefinger of both hands, pulling the condom down over the penis in a single rapid movement. "The ease with which it goes on makes it more a pleasure to use than an obstruction or something," said Muller at an interactive demonstration.
The inventors hope the design will encourage the use of condoms, decreasing this way the spread of AIDS. "The applicator, which took six years to design, could cut the chances of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, especially in South Africa, where more than 10 % of the population is infected with the AIDS virus", added Muller.
Wrapped in a serrated package that is split open with the help of two thumb-sized handles inside a foil wrapper, the applicator places a pre-loaded condom that slides over an erected penis to its base. "The entire procedure takes less than three seconds. It would virtually eliminate the possibility of tearing a condom or putting one on the wrong way", said Muller.
"Although not yet on the market, the condom applicator will be priced at between 25 and 30 rand ($3.50 to $4.25) for a pack of three, about the same price as other condoms. This is something really close to my heart. It encompasses so much. It is not only just design, it has taken political, social spheres into account. It is also looking at solving a problem that many people struggled with", he said.