When schoolboys Daanyaal Ali, Chirag Shah and Muaz Nawaz went to their teacher with an idea for a new condom, they feared they would get in trouble.
Their blueprint for a contraception device that changes colour when it detects a disease has instead clinched them an award and could soon be on supermarket shelves.
The trio won £1,000 for their school at the TeenTech Awards and are going to Buckingham Palace to discuss their idea with the Duke of York. And they have been contacted by companies about how to make it into an actual product.
The pupils told Eastern Eye they have overcome plenty of challenges along the way.
Daanyaal, 14, said: “Our first challenge was actually telling our teacher our idea. We thought we would get in trouble, but actually they were really supportive and helped us run with the idea.
“Our second challenge was when we realised we had got into the finals.
“We never thought that would even be possible, we obviously then realised how much work we had to do and fitting it all in around our exams was a really stressful time.
“Our biggest challenge was and still is the fact we know scientifically it is feasible. However, we need to actually trial and test [the concept].”
The idea, called S.T.Eye, was pitched at a Dragons’ Den-style competition at their school – Isaac Newton Academy in Ilford, east London.
Muaz, 13, added: “We were will really nervous telling our teachers at first and we kept this idea as one of our last if the others all fell through, which they did.
“So we were brave and asked. Yes, they were surprised at first, but actually they were really supportive and we wouldn’t be here right now without all their support and guidance.
“Our friends and classmates thought it was all a bit of a joke at first. But when we got into the finals, they realised how serious we had been about the idea and since winning and having the media go viral about this they just can’t believe it.”
The students said the colour change would work on both sides of the condom with green for chlamydia, purple for genital warts, blue for syphilis and yellow for herpes.
It would work by the rubber being covered with antibodies that would react with the bacteria found in sexually transmitted infections.
Chirag, 14, said: “We have been contacted by a few condom companies who are hoping to come into school to help us map out the timeline process of what is going to happen next.
“It is all about the science and trying to get universities to help us trial and research whether our concept will one day become a product.”