The sKan is James Dyson Award 2017 International Winner

Beauty of this invention really is skin‑deep

Dyson award-winning device can scan for skin cancer at a fraction of usual cost

The four electrical biomedical engineering grads developed a genius device called the sKan, which they say can diagnose skin cancer by monitoring the heat emissions of various cells.

The inventors of a device which could prevent thousands of deaths by easily spotting melanoma skin cancer has been awarded the prestigious worldwide James Dyson award.

The sKan team from McMaster University, Canada. Cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal cells, which means that if an ice pack is pressed on the skin, for example, the cancerous tissue will regain heat quicker than the rest of the skin. Their invention, a low-priced, handheld sensor that could allow faster diagnosis of skin cancers, has been praised by Sir James as a "very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world". From left: Prateek Mathur, Shivad Bhavsar, Rotimi Fadiya and Michael Takla. These non-invasive temperature readings are then presented with a statement of findings about a presence, or lack of presence, of melanoma. However, early detection of the cancer is usually reliant on a visual inspection by a physician, which is often inaccurate, while more advanced methods such as high resolution thermal imaging cameras can cost over £20,000.

By incorporating an array of accurate and cheap thermistors, the sKan is placed on a part of the skin that shows potential signs of melanoma and then tracks its return to ambient temperature after being cooled.

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There are already detection methods using thermal imaging, but they now use thermal imaging cameras that cost upwards of $26,000 (about £20,000, AU$33,000) and so are only likely to be performed at well funded medical establishments.

A group of undergraduates studying medical and bioengineering courses at McMaster University, Canada have won the global James Dyson Award for 2017 for the creation of a medical device called the sKan. "This is why I have selected it at this year's global victor". One of the runners-up is Gabriele Natale, who studies design and engineering and has devised a robotic arm that is able to print three-dimensional objects directly from a computer aided-design (CAD) file.

In doing so the device helps solve the problem of current high-performance 3D printing tools wasting large amounts of material. Twistlight, designed by Tina Zimmer, uses LED lights to make veins appear highly contrasted within their surrounding dermal tissue.

Despite being the most common form of medical procedure in the world, 33pc of attempts fail at the first try.

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