Sun Screen 2.0

Ottawa Magazine - - This City - BY JOSEPH MATHIEU

ON THE FIRST DAY, THERE WAS LIGHT, AND IT WAS GOOD. Many days later came sun­screen, and it was safer. Now, with the UV Scan, we are en­light­ened.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion iden­ti­fies ul­tra­vi­o­let rays as a hu­man car­cino­gen — that is, an agent that causes can­cer in hu­mans. A new de­vice de­signed in Ot­tawa will ed­u­cate peo­ple on how to pro­tect their skin from these rays.

Cre­ated by Zoe Doucette, a fourth-year stu­dent in Car­leton Univer­sity’s in­dus­trial de­sign pro­gram, the de­vice helps out­door rev­ellers bet­ter ap­ply sun­screen by scan­ning their body as sun­screen is ap­plied. A cam­era re­lays in­for­ma­tion to a mon­i­tor, which re­veals what parts of the body are pro­tected by sun­screen — and, more im­por­tantly, what parts are not. Ar­eas pro­tected from UV rays ap­pear black on the mon­i­tor.

“In my re­search, I found that when peo­ple started to un­der­stand UV rays, they took more pre­cau­tions with sun­screen,” says Doucette, who hopes to see the de­vice at beaches and parks.

Doucette says her UV Scan was inspired by a 2014 video by Amer­i­can artist and film­maker Thomas Leveritt called How the Sun Sees You, which shows peo­ple’s re­ac­tions when shown what their skin looks like in ul­tra­vi­o­let light. (Spoiler alert: it isn’t pretty.)

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