Votes: 1
Views: 2355

Suncayr is making sun safety simplified with a UV-responsive marker that will tell you when your sunscreen is no longer protecting you through a simple colour change.

Ultraviolet radiation from the sun is quite harmful to our skin, causing sunburns and skin-aging, in addition to skin cancer. Over 90% of skin cancer is directly caused by sun exposure. Skin cancer is now the most common form of cancer in North America, affecting 1 in 5 people. This jumps to 1 in 3 people in Australia. Sunscreen has been created to stop UV exposure, but it’s not a complete solution. This protection only lasts as long as the sunscreen is still on your skin. The SPF value doesn’t provide users with a clear indication of how long they are being protected. Waterproof and/or sweatproof sunscreens don’t necessarily remain protective after a swim, and users don’t have a way of knowing if they are protected from the sun or not. Everyone participates in different activities outside, and everyone has different skin types and perspiration rates, so it is extremely difficult for people to know when their sunscreen has worn off. The average consumer does not know when to apply their sunscreen as the bottles offer vague guidelines such as “reapply as necessary.” In addition, another reason that people experience a sunburns is simply because it’s easy to forget to reapply sunscreen during a long day outside. Consumers need a personalized solution for their skin that tells them when they need to reapply sunscreen.

Suncayr has developed a colour changing marker that will tell users when their sunscreen is no longer protecting them. The marker is like a pen, allowing the user to draw a picture anywhere on their body. Once drawn, they would then cover the ink and the rest of their body with sunscreen. When they are protected, the ink is one color, but when the sunscreen wears off and their skin is exposed to UV, the ink immediately changes to another color. This gives an easy visual warning that you need to reapply sunscreen. The Suncayr marker is applied directly to the skin, which is unique to the market. This gives you the personalized awareness they need to fully enjoy every day they spend outside, and come home sunburn free.

People are already concerned about protecting themselves against overexposure to UV. The global sun protection industry was valued at almost $10 billion in 2011, growing at a rate of $600 million per year. This means that over 500 million of bottles of sunscreen are sold every year. However, they also recognize that sunscreen by itself is not a complete solution. We have talked to thousands of people who use sunscreen, and over 90% said they would buy this product. Our initial target market includes parents with children aged 3 to 10 within North America. We are a team of nanotechnology engineers from the University of Waterloo with a passion for solving common consumer problems using innovative technology.



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  • Name:
    Rachel Pautler
  • Type of entry:
    Team members:
    Andrew Martinko, Suncayr
    Chad Sweeting, Suncayr
    Derek Jouppi, Suncayr
  • Profession:
  • Number of times previously entering contest:
  • Rachel is inspired by:
    I am passionate about using the latest technical breakthroughs to fundamentally change the average person's life. I enjoy the challenge of simplifying technology to a point that it seems obvious. Better medical products and improved materials also intrigue me.
  • Software used for this entry:
  • Patent status: