NSSN Co-Director and team announced as finalists for 2017 Eureka Prize
NSSN Co-Director, Scientia Professor Justin Gooding, and his team of Dr Parisa Khiabani and Dr Alexander Soeriyadi have been announced as finalists in the 2017 Eureka Prize in the Innovative Use of Technology category.
The team has created a simple and affordable wearable sunscreen sensor, which indicates to the wearer when they should seek shade or apply more sunscreen.
Australia has the highest incidence of skin cancer and melanoma in the world. About 90% of non-melanoma skin cancers are linked to overexposure of UV radiation from the sun. Diligent use of sunscreen offers effective prevention but requires that individuals be aware of UV levels and when they are becoming over-exposed for their specific skin type. Children are particularly susceptible to sunburn, with research indicating that repetitive sunburn leads to a significantly increased risk of skin cancer in later life.
The new technology offers a simple, single-use sensor that uses inexpensive, non-toxic materials printed onto paper, using a standard inkjet printer. The indicator material is based on a common food dye that changes colour when exposed to UV radiation, thus informing the user when to re-apply sunscreen or move out of the sun. The colour change can be tuned to match exposure time limits for different skin types, giving a visual indication to users that allows them to easily see when they are at risk of overexposure. Created with existing materials and manufacturing technologies, the sensor has the potential to deliver long-term benefits to public health.