Canadian skin cancer detector concept wins global design prize

(Emily Chung/ CBC News) — A group of Canadians has developed an early prototype of a cheap, handheld scanner that could one day help doctors diagnose skin cancer painlessly in their offices.

The team of recent engineering graduates from McMaster University beat out more than 1,000 other ideas from around the world to win this year’s James Dyson Award for design engineering, worth $40,000 US ($51,000 Cdn), with a device called The sKan.

“It’s a very clever device with the potential to save lives around the world,” said inventor James Dyson in a statement. He was one of the three judges who chose the entry from 20 finalists. He’s also the founder of the James Dyson Foundation, the charitable trust that runs the award.

It’s the second time a Canadian team has won in the award’s 13-year history.

The device is still in an early stage of development — the current prototype isn’t actually sensitive enough to detect cancer, according to team member Rotimi Fadiya.

But he’s confident that with his team’s planned improvements to the design, future models will have the potential to save lives. (…)

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