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International Runner Up

Suncayr – Sun Safety Simplified

Suncayr is developing a colour changing marker that will tell you when your sunscreen is no longer protecting you, giving you the awareness you need to not get sunburned.

What it does

Suncayr is developing a colour changing marker that will tell you when your sunscreen is no longer protecting you, giving you the awareness you need to not get sunburned.

Your inspiration

We are a team of five nanotechnology engineers who are fed up with getting sunburned. Derek was surfing in California, but because he forgot to re-apply his sunscreen, had a peeling sunburn on his face that hurt for days. Andrew has got burned so many times because he didn't know if his sunscreen was protecting him, that he refuses to go from class to class outdoors, even on a beautiful summer day. As a group of friends, we were as diligent as we could be about re-applying sunscreen on a trip to the beach, but Rachel came home with a nasty burn on her back that peeled for more than a week. We knew there had to be a better way of enjoying the sun without having to worry about coming home burnt red. We chose to create Suncayr to solve the problem of not knowing when to reapply sunscreen. Painful and peeling sunburns greatly increase an individuals risk of developing skin cancer, as well as making you look and feel miserable for far too long. Suncayr is seeking to create an innovative solution that consumers want to use. Our design is a colour changing marker that you can draw on your skin, that will let you know when to re-apply sunscreen. Our competitors offer stickers and wristbands that are uncomfortable and easily fall off. Since Suncayr is applied directly to your skin, you receive personalized knowledge of your skin’s protection.

How it works

Suncayr’s pen-like marker is applied directly on the skin, and the user can draw whatever they like. They can then apply sunscreen over-top of the ink, as well as the rest of their body. When the sunscreen is still protecting them, the ink is one colour (Colour A). The ink that the user has drawn on themselves is UV responsive, meaning that when UV hits the ink, it changes colour (to Colour B), letting them know to re-apply sunscreen. After applying sunscreen again, the ink changes back (i.e. back to Colour A). By using a marker that allows users to write whatever they want, wherever they want, we make applying and re-applying sunscreen something fun. Kids will want to use our product, and will want to use sunscreen to see the colour change. Adults will appreciate that their children want to apply sunscreen, and they themselves don’t have to worry about sunburns. The colour change is reversible, can last all day, leaves no tan line, and is removable at the end of the day. In addition, our product can be applied anywhere you want (especially in areas that are easily burned, like on your shoulders), and is very water-resistant.

Design process

Suncayr was conceived as we were brainstorming ideas for our Capstone Deisgn project as Nanotechnology Engineers at the University of Waterloo. Since then, Suncayr has developed substantially over time, but the core idea has remained the same. From the beginning, we knew that we wanted to improve the effectiveness and experience of sunscreen for everyone. Our initial planning focused on the best way to implement our solution. We wanted to make Suncayr as simple and useful as possible, but primarily we wanted to make it FUN. This lead us to our design of a marker that can be drawn on the skin. By drawing the marker on your skin, you can get the most accurate knowledge about how sunscreen is protecting you. You can draw or write anything you want, and you have control over the area of application, so you can apply in areas most commonly sunburned. Finally, drawing stuff on yourself and your friends is fun, and would make using Suncayr a more enjoyable experience! After our design was nailed down, it was time to head into the lab. We’ve been working for a few months now, and have successfully created our first prototype. Our prototype is one colour (blue) when exposed to UV, and another colour (clear/white) when your sunscreen is protecting you. We are currently working on the next stage of our design, which is incorporating this dye into a form-factor that can be applied to the skin. It’s going really well, and we hope to have much more to show in the upcoming months.

How it is different

Future plans


Currently, Suncayr has pending contest entries at: 1. Create the Future Design Contest: 2. Velocity 1K Pitch Competition (awards given July 24th): We are also currently in the process of applying to: 3. Communitech Womens Entrepreneurship Bootcamp. 4. Kairos F6S Competition In addition to being accepted as a founding team within Velocity Science (startup incubator), Suncayr has won the following awards: 5. Engineers of the Future Trust Award, University of Waterloo: 6. Conrad Business Centre E-Coop Award:

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