Health Care

These Toronto Students Just Won $50000 For Developing A Genius Device

These Toronto Students Just Won $50000 For Developing A Genius Device

Called the sKan, the device works on the fact that cancerous cells have a higher metabolic rate than normal cells, thereby producing more heat than healthy cells.

The team's British benefactor James Dyson, best known for inventing a bagless vacuum, says in a statement that he chose the sKan because of its "potential to save lives around the world".

They were awarded C$50,000 ($40,000; £30,000) to develop the device, which uses temperature sensors to help in the early detection of melanoma, the mostly deadly form of skin cancer. Of those, more than 5,000 are 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. Upon announcing the award victor James Dyson said: "By using widely available and cheap components, the Skan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many".

sKan uses this property to identify potential cancers. The results of this are displayed as a heat map and temperature difference time plot on using a regular computer.

In Canada, more than 80,000 cases of skin cancer are diagnosed each year.

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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.

Of the victor, James Dyson says: "By using widely available and low-priced components, the sKan allows for melanoma skin cancer detection to be readily accessible to the many".

The sKan team has added that it was "humbled and excited" by the honour and with the new funding will continue development of the device with the aim of getting FDA approval. "This is why I have selected it as this year's global victor".

The contest - which runs in 23 countries - is aimed at university students or recent graduates studying product design, industrial design and engineering, and is based around creating a product that "solves a problem".

The team plans to use the funds to build a new prototype that can be used in pre-clinical testing. Runners-up for the award, each awarded £5,000, was an Italian project for a waste-free, 3D-printing robotic arm, and a German project for guiding injections using LED lights. This year that include the Atropos, a 3D-printing robotic arm created to reduce the amount of waste material, and the Twistlight, a device that uses LED lights to guide needles right into the vein to reduce the amount of misses.