Real talk: Condoms are a necessary evil, but most of them ain’t that great. They’re prone to slipping and breakage, they decrease sensitivity and they make everything you touch for the rest of the day smell like the inside of a tire factory. That’s why inventors and safe sex advocates have been working tirelessly to design an improved version of the condom for the mass market. The latest effort is a “just-the-tip” condom, or a condom that covers just the head of the penis for increased sensitivity.

Invented by Torrance, Calif., native Charlie Powell, the condom is called the Galactic Cap, presumably deriving its name from the fact that it looks like a helmet a high-ranking member of a futuristic utopian society would be required to wear. It’s being marketed as a barrier method that successfully traps semen while increasing user sensitivity. (The device, however, probably does little to prevent the transmission of STIs like certain types of HPV, which are transmitted via skin-to-skin contact.)

Basically, the device has two parts: a U-shaped polyurethane adhesive film base, and a little cap that sticks to the film. The base can be put on the tip of the penis hours before sex, so users can shower or urinate with it on. The cap then slides on top of the base, covering only the tip of the penis so the ultra-sensitive coronal ridge and shaft are exposed. This (obviously NSFW) video demonstrates how to put it on:

Although the Galactic Cap doesn’t yet have FDA approval, Powell thinks it could be a game-changer for the contraceptive industry, and he’s launching an IndieGogo campaign June 1 to raise funds toward its development. He’s touting it as “the greatest condom in 400 years”—not exactly high praise, considering that 400 years ago we were using sheep intestines to wrap our junk up, but we get the point nonetheless.

While Powell plans on marketing the Galactic Cap to a general audience, he also acknowledges it could be a potential solution for the adult film industry, which is currently battling a statewide mandate in California requiring performers to wear condoms during shoots.

“If you use this you might overcome the problem of using a condom on camera,” he recently told LA Weekly. “A lot of people might not like the look of the thing going in and out. It's transparent, on the head, so it doesn't look so gross.”

Will adult film consumers find a penis wearing a space-age Devo helmet less “gross” than a penis wearing a condom? It’s tough to say. But Powell’s intentions are certainly admirable (he was inspired to create the device after losing a friend to HIV/AIDS), and we’ve been waiting quite a while for a contraceptive that promotes safer sex, while not diminishing user pleasure. The Galactic Cap might be silly, but it may also be a step in the right direction.

H/T LA Weekly | Screengrab via Galactic Cap/YouTube