Four Canadian Students invent the sKan – Device that can Detect Skin Cancer


Before you discover this incredible invention, which can detect skin cancer, here is a brief description about Melanoma. Melanoma skin cancer usually starts in a certain type of skin cell and can develop anywhere on the skin. It is the most dangerous skin cancer; these cancerous cells develop when unprepared DNA damages the skin cells usually caused by sunshine or tanning beds. The skin cells then multiply rapidly and form tumours. Melanoma usually resembles moles or can develop from moles so make sure to get your yearly check up at the dermatologist.  

Melanoma skin cancer is less likely than other types of skin cancer, but it is more likely to grow and spread. Early diagnostic methods today are not always accurate and can also be very expensive (, 2017). Luckily, a group of Canadian engineering students have developed an early Melanoma diagnostic tool called the sKan. The device uses temperature sensitive resistors to detect Melanoma (Dezeen, 2017).

You might wonder how this team came together to discover such an incredible device. Throughout their research they found out that cancerous tissue recovers faster from being cooled compared to normal tissue. Therefore, they thought about building a device that could be used easily by any doctors and be cost effective for patients. James Dyson, Dyson company founder explains why the students won the award “a very clear device with the potential to save lives around the world” (BBC News, 2017). 

They’re biggest motivation to building this device was to help people and save lives. These engineers have been named the winners of this year’s James Dyson Award.



  1. BBC News. (2017). Cancer-detecting device wins global award. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
  2. (2017). Melanoma Skin Cancer. [online] Available at: [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].
  3. Tamblyn, T. (2017). This Incredible Gadget Can Detect Skin Cancer Cheaply And Reliably. [online] HuffPost UK. Available at: [Accessed 28 Nov. 2017].