A team of four engineering students from Canada have won the prestigious James Dyson award for a diagnostic tool that could help detect skin cancer.
Called the sKan, their low-cost tool is able to track temperature changes in the skin, giving clues to emerging melanoma. Recent research has shown that areas of cancerous skin regain heat faster than non-malignant areas.
The students, from McMaster University in Canada, believe their invention could be sold for under $1,000 (£762) and save health services valuable time and money. Winning the contest will net them £30,000 to develop the idea further.
In the UK, an estimated 2,500 lives are lost to melanoma each year. Many early diagnostic methods rely on visual inspections, which can be inaccurate at times.
The sKan device could help save lives through more accurate detection earlier in the process.
“By using widely available and inexpensive components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many,” said James Dyson.
“It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world. This is why I have selected it at this year’s international winner”.
The sKan team said: “Winning the James Dyson Award means the world to us. The prize money will help us to continue developing a medical device that can saves people’s lives.
“We are truly humbled and excited to be given this remarkable opportunity”.