Prevention is better than a cure when it comes to cancer, and two Taranaki girls have had a bright idea to protect people from the sun.
Danielle Watt and Sarah Mount have created a bracelet with a sensor that changes colour when the wearer needs to apply more sunscreen.
The two 17-year-olds, who both know people suffering from skin cancer, are hoping the invention helps to prevent the disease.
“We call it the Exposure Band. It has a UV monitoring face in it and it alerts you when you need to put more sunscreen on. It’s going to be especially great for kids,” Miss Watt said.
The wristband, which comes in seven colours and fits children and adults, has been designed by the two New Plymouth Girls’ High School students during the past eight weeks.
The bracelet is made of soft plastic and has a resin face, complete with a variety of UV reactive materials that change from white to bright yellow.
When the wearer applies sunscreen to their skin they also apply the same amount to the face of the band. As the sunblock wears off skin and the wristband at the same time, the bracelet slowly changes colour.
“You match the colour of the band to the indicator on the back of the packet, to see how long it is until you need to reapply sunscreen,” Miss Watt, who wants to go into business management after she finishes school, said.
Miss Mount, who said they hoped to donate money to the Skin Cancer Foundation, knew it was easy to forget to reapply sunscreen, especially when having fun.
“In 2011 I had the worst sunburn of my life. I was at the beach, laying on my front and talking away to my friend for hours. I just lost track of time and forgot to put more sunscreen on. I was so sore for the next few days.
“The good thing about the Exposure Band is that it’s a visual reminder to reapply, especially for children,” Miss Mount said.
The two students, who developed the wristband as a part of the Young Enterprise scheme, were hoping to get their product into pharmacies and sports stores throughout New Zealand.
“We have such a bad rate of skin cancer in this country and we really think this could help to combat that,” Miss Watt said.
The girls, who would be selling the Exposure Band on Facebook until they could get them on the shelves in stores, would like to hear from any Taranaki pharmacies interested in the product.
“This is perfect for New Zealand and people need to be able to have easy access to purchase it,” Miss Mount said.
Taranaki Daily News