Yes, it’s a real thing. Back in March 2013, Bill and Melinda Gates put up a $100,000 prize for an improved condom design as part of th Grand Challenges in Global Health programme. It’s one of the Grand Challenges Explorations Round 11 topics and here’s a link directly to its web page, if you think you have a great design.
The logic of it is ‘the lack of perceived incentive for consistent use’ – the benefits of not contracting STIs are offset by issues such as decrease in stimulation and the need to engage in awkward messing around with a small latex balloon just before sex (though there are answers to that such as incorporating into sex play…). The challenge is, therefore, to create a condom that could enhance pleasure and is easier to use.
One design that’s already won praise is the origami condom, which is already manufactured by a small company in California and is made of silicone rather than latex (with a one-way valve to stop semen leaking out).
However, one guy’s design for a condom applicator is likely to win only a niche following, probably mostly among dommes with male submissives who need a sharp reminder of their domme’s superiority. You can see the explanation of its use and the applicator in action on a video on Trendhunter – it’s tagged ‘Prophylactic projectiles‘, which may give you some idea of how it works.