A simple and inexpensive skin cancer detector wins award


Please consider donating to Behind the Black, by giving either a one-time contribution or a regular subscription, as outlined in the tip jar to the right. Your support will allow me to continue covering science and culture as I have for the past twenty years, independent and free from any outside influence.

A simple and inexpensive skin cancer detector has won the $40,000 2017 James Dyson award.

Designed by a team from McMaster University in Canada, the sKan can make more accurate diagnoses quickly and reasonably cheaply. It’s based around the fact that cancer cells have a faster metabolic rate than healthy cells, meaning they release more heat. To check if a patch of skin has the beginnings of a melanoma, the suspected area is first cooled with an ice pack before the sKan device is placed against the skin.

Using an array of temperature sensors called thermistors, the sKan will then monitor the area as the skin warms back up. If there’s a melanoma present, it will warm up faster than the surrounding skin, revealing itself on a heat map and temperature difference time plot created through a connected computer program.

Once this device is in the hands of dermatologists, they will be able to very quickly diagnose whether a skin mole or freckle is dangerous or not.

Share

2 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *